Planned Parenthood Sues to Stop Texas Law Banning Abortions When Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jul 13, 2021   |   2:47PM   |   Austin, Texas

The abortion industry filed an expected lawsuit Tuesday against a pro-life Texas law that could save tens of thousands of unborn babies every year.

The Houston Chronicle reports the Texas Heartbeat Act, Senate Bill 8, is being challenged by the Whole Woman’s Health abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and others in federal court.

The law, which is scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1, prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Unique from other state heartbeat laws, the Texas legislation includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows people to file lawsuits against abortionists who violate the law.

The provision is similar to language in the Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances that have been passing at the city level, and pro-life leaders believe it makes the Texas law more likely to withstand a legal challenge.

“The only thing more ridiculous than this lawsuit is the fact that we have people, right here in Texas, who are fighting to end the lives of innocent unborn children,” said Mark Lee Dickson, director with Right to Life of East Texas and founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn initiative. Dickson is one of the parties named in the lawsuit.

A Texas judge recently threw out Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit against a similar provision at the local level, the Lubbock Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance.

Texas Right to Life described the lawsuit as a “desperate” attempt by the abortion industry to keep killing unborn babies.

“The abortion industry has responded to this innovative law with a far-reaching and distorted lawsuit,” said John Seago, legislative director of Texas Right to Life. “We still have the utmost confidence in the innovative legal strategy and carefully drafted nature of SB 8, and we fully believe this pro-life priority will ultimately be upheld and save countless preborn lives.”

In 2019, more than 56,600 unborn babies were aborted in Texas, according to state health statistics. The Center for Reproductive Rights estimates about 85 percent of abortions in Texas happen after six weeks.

To Amy Hagstrom Miller, who makes her living as president and CEO of the Whole Woman’s Health abortion chain, the law could bring about a “nightmarish future.”

“This is far and away the most extreme restriction on abortion I’ve ever seen,” she told the Chronicle. “If this law is allowed to stand in Texas, it won’t be long before it shows up in other states.”

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Here’s more from the report:

The suit claims the new law violates Texans’ right to privacy and abortion providers’ right to equal protection, among other freedoms. It would saddle clinics, abortion doctors and groups that help women pay for the procedure with endless lawsuits, effectively shutting them down, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing the plaintiffs alongside the American Civil Liberties Union and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

According to Newsmax, the pro-abortion groups also asked a federal judge “to prevent any of the state’s trial court judges, potentially more than 1,000 throughout Texas, from enforcing the law and to block court clerks from accepting the lawsuits.”

In a statement, the Center for Reproductive Rights claimed the law will “incentivize” people, including abusive partners, to sue the abortionist. But this is misleading. The law specifically prohibits perpetrators of rape, sexual assault, incest and other crimes from filing lawsuits.

“If the law takes effect, abortion providers, clinic staff and abortion funds could be saddled with endless lawsuits that consume their time and resources and prevent them from providing health care services, ultimately forcing them to shut down,” the Center for Reproductive Rights said.

Planned Parenthood also expressed its outrage on Twitter, writing: “SB8 is part of a wave of abortion bans already enacted in 2021 (the worst year on record for abortion restrictions) and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. But we won’t back down.”

The lawsuit includes ten abortion facilities, five abortionists and pro-abortion religious leaders and six organizations that fund abortions.

When the law passed earlier this summer, pro-life leaders praised lawmakers for taking historic action to protect unborn babies.

“The Texas Heartbeat Act is the strongest pro-life bill passed by the Legislature since Roe v. Wade and will save thousands of lives,” Texas Right to Life senior legislative associate Rebecca Parma told at the time. “This is a historic day and now is the time to build on our momentum.”

Though abortion activists claim public support is on their side, polls suggest otherwise.

An April poll by the University of Texas-Austin found that Texans support a six-week abortion ban. According to the poll, 49 percent support making abortions illegal after six weeks of pregnancy, while 41 percent oppose it.

In 2019, a national Hill-HarrisX survey also found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive. Gallup polls consistently find that a majority of Americans think all or most abortions should be illegal.

In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks. The court is scheduled to hear a Mississippi case in the fall that challenges this precedent.