Texas Bill Would Ban Abortions Once an Unborn Baby’s Heart Begins Beating

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 18, 2019   |   5:12PM   |   Austin, TX

Texas lawmakers introduced a bill last week to ban abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, the latest in a growing number of states hoping to protect the unborn.

State House Bill 1500, sponsored by state Rep. Briscoe Cain, would require abortionists to check if an unborn baby has a heartbeat. If a heartbeat is detected, the abortion would be illegal. Exceptions would be allowed for medical emergencies if the mother’s life is at risk. An unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable at about six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant, and abortion activists admit that heartbeat laws would ban basically all abortions, if enacted.

“Eleven other states have filed heartbeat bills this year, making 2019 the year of the Heartbeat Bill,” Cain said. “I am humbled to see the growing wave of support this and other heartbeat bills are receiving across the country.”

His bill notes that Texas has a legitimate interest in protecting the life of an unborn child. Cain said it is just common sense to protect a human being whose heart is beating.

More than 40 Texas lawmakers already have co-sponsored the bill in the state House. Quorum Report editor Scott Braddock told KFYO Radio that the co-sponsors represent a “broad cross section” of lawmakers, including moderate Republicans.

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Pro-life lawmakers have introduced a number of heartbeat bills this winter, hoping for a victory with the new conservative majority U.S. Supreme Court. Similar bills are being considered in Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee.

The goal of the legislation is to prevent the deaths of thousands of unborn babies every year and potentially lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, even some pro-life advocates admit that the success of the legislation is uncertain. North Dakota and Arkansas passed heartbeat bills several years ago, but federal courts struck down both laws. In January, a judge declared Iowa’s heartbeat law unconstitutional.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the following about its ruling on the six-week abortion ban: “Because there is no genuine dispute that (North Dakota’s law) generally prohibits abortions before viability — as the Supreme Court has defined that concept — and because we are bound by Supreme Court precedent holding that states may not prohibit pre-viability abortions, we must affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs.”

When courts rule against such laws, state taxpayers often are forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.

There is more hope that the U.S. Supreme Court may consider an abortion ban, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain – especially after Chief Justice John Roberts recently sided with the liberal justices on an abortion case.