Planned Parenthood is trying another way to stop the new Texas heartbeat law.
Late Thursday, three of its Texas affiliates asked a judge to issue a restraining order against Texas Right to Life to stop the pro-life organization from suing abortionists who violate the law, Texas Public Radio reports.
The pro-life law went into effect Wednesday, prohibiting abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Unique from other heartbeat laws, it includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows people to file lawsuits against abortionists who violate the law.
Planned Parenthood, a billion-dollar abortion chain that does about 40 percent of all abortions in the U.S., slammed the private enforcement as “malicious,” claiming it would “cause imminent, irreparable injury” to its abortionists and other staff, ABC News reports.
It urged a Travis County judge to block Texas Right to Life and associates from enforcing the law, according to the report.
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“Unfortunately for people who discover they are pregnant and cardiac activity exists, the options that they have now under this law are limited,” Melaney Linton, CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, told Houston Matters. “We have to either help them navigate away to get out of state and get to another provider or they will have to contemplate continuing the pregnancy.”
Linton said they still are offering abortions up to six weeks of pregnancy. However, another affiliate, Planned Parenthood South Texas, stopped doing abortions completely when the law took effect.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused another request from Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups to temporarily block enforcement of the law. As a result, Texas became the first state to be allowed to enforce a heartbeat 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.
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.
Polls show Americans support heartbeat laws. An April poll by the University of Texas-Austin found that 49 percent of Texans 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.