The largest abortion chain in America, Planned Parenthood, was forced to stop aborting unborn babies Wednesday in Texas when the new state heartbeat law went into effect.
Texas Public Radio reports Planned Parenthood facilities in south Texas put a “pause” on abortions entirely, while its facilities in other parts of the state are doing abortions only in “the rare cases when a pregnancy is detected” before an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy.
“The only thing we can do right now is pause abortion … entirely as we wait for this legal challenge we have mounted to play out,” Planned Parenthood of South Texas CEO Jeffrey Hons told the news outlet.
On Wednesday, the Texas heartbeat law went into effect, prohibiting abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable. The legislation has the potential to save tens of thousands of babies’ lives.
Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and others filed a desperate appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, asking the justices to temporarily block enforcement of the law. But as of yet, Justice Samuel Alito, who is in charge of emergency petitions from Texas, has not issued a decision.
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Mara E. Posada, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Texas, told the San Antonio Express-News they closed all their facilities Wednesday for training related to the new law, but they plan to re-open later this week to provide other non-abortion services.
Planned Parenthood South Texas reported doing 3,166 abortions last year, according to the report.
Hons slammed the heartbeat law as “a monstrous situation that has been created by the Texas Legislature and the governor.” He said “very few” women know that they are pregnant by six weeks.
“I hope very soon we have some sort of relief from the courts,” Hons said. “We are not closing any clinics.”
He told the Express-News that they will direct women to other states for abortions, but some women will not want to or be able to go.
“There’s a lot of people in the state where traveling far and out of state doesn’t happen,” he said. “You might as well tell them they have to fly to Paris (France).”
An independent abortion facility in San Antonio, the Alamo Women’s Reproductive Services, states on its website that it also stopped doing abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, but it will do ultrasounds and set up appointments for women to go to other states for abortions.
Meanwhile, pro-life advocates are reaching out to pregnant women across Texas with compassion and understanding, offering resources and emotional support to help them and their babies. Earlier this year, state lawmakers increased support for pregnant and parenting mothers and babies, ensuring that they have resources to choose life for their babies.
Women may call or text 1-800-712-4357 or chat online with OptionLine, a 24-hour bilingual hotline run by Heartbeat International that has helped connect millions of women to pregnancy and parenting resources.
Up until now, state heartbeat laws have been blocked in court. The precedent established in Roe v. Wade prohibits states from banning abortions before an unborn baby is viable. But the Texas law is unique from other heartbeat laws because it includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows people to file lawsuits against abortionists who violate the law.
The law has the potential to save tens of thousands of babies from abortion. In 2020, about 54,000 unborn babies were aborted in Texas, and about 85 percent happened after six weeks of pregnancy, according to state health statistics. That means more than 100 unborn babies with beating hearts may be spared from abortion every single day in Texas.
Whether the Texas law will remain in effect or ultimately be upheld as constitutional in court remains uncertain, but pro-life leaders are hopeful now that the Supreme Court has a conservative majority.
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.