Roe v. Wade was born in Texas, and the state’s new Heartbeat Law could effectively mean the Lone Star State is where Roe dies.
The first-of-its-kind law is designed to be enforced by private citizens instead of the state, leaving the abortion industry in a conundrum: There’s no one easily identified to sue to block the law.
Out of more than a dozen states that have passed a “heartbeat law,” Texas is the only one where the law is now in effect. More than 53,000 abortions were reported in the state last year, and it’s estimated that the law will curtail that figure by at least 85%.
Needless to say, pro-life advocates are celebrating the decimating effect this will have on the abortion industry as well as the thousands of children it will save.
About six weeks into a pregnancy, a preborn child’s heart begins to beat. And protecting that heartbeat is by no means a fringe position.
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Half the country, according to polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation, believes abortion should not be legal once this profound and undeniable sign of human life is detected.
Polling from Students for Life of America’s Institute for Pro-Life Advancement this year found that 6 in 10 people in the millennial and Gen Z generations believe “doctors should check for a heartbeat before performing or offering an abortion.”
This discomfort with aborting children with heartbeats casts the purported widespread support for Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton, into serious question. With those 1973 cases, a seven-man majority on the Supreme Court legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. Today, only 19% of Americans support abortion as late as the third trimester.
The Supreme Court will revisit that outdated and out-of-touch decision later this year as it considers Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, centering on a Mississippi law that bans abortions at 15 weeks of pregnancy.
One possible outcome is that the court could relinquish its 1973 usurpation of the abortion question and once again allow states to protect preborn children. Ahead of that decision, Texas has sent a strong signal to the courts that many Americans intend to protect our children from abortion violence.
Earlier this year, an extraordinary event in Lubbock, Texas, revealed an enthusiasm for abolishing abortion that foreshadowed what was coming in the statewide heartbeat measure. The northwest Texas city put life on the ballot with a Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinance that outlaws all abortions within city limits.
After Students for Life Action (SFLAction) and pro-life allies mobilized to educate and activate voters, the ordinance passed by a sweeping margin of 62% to 38%.
Texas was the first state to give the nation Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn, and Lubbock was the first Sanctuary City that outlawed abortion while an abortion clinic was active. Planned Parenthood sued for the right to continue committing abortions in the city and was dealt defeat when a judge dismissed the case. Today, Lubbock is abortion-free.
And the Lubbock victory came after another hard-fought battle that culminated in Planned Parenthood being kicked out of the Texas Medicaid program. The group disqualified itself from the program when it was caught on undercover video appearing to violate its provider agreement.
State officials initiated Planned Parenthood’s removal from Medicaid in 2015, but Planned Parenthood stalled the final decision with lawsuits that ultimately culminated in defeat for the abortion behemoth. Texas invested $100 million in the Alternatives to Abortion program to provide assistance to women and families.
Texas also is setting a model for federal protection of the preborn child. In July, SFLAction worked with Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, to spearhead the Protecting Life on College Campus Act of 2021, aimed at penalizing any taxpayer-funded university that dispenses abortion drugs on campus.
With an estimated 62 million American children dead since Roe v. Wade and an untold number of mothers and families wounded by abortion, it is impossible to overstate the urgency and importance of laws like Texas’ Heartbeat Law. Texas’ proud history is stained by its role in the devastating legacy of Roe v. Wade, but the future is anti-abortion.
Americans who oppose abortion should take heart – and take notes – from Texas today.