The Texas heartbeat law still is saving unborn babies from abortion even though a judge blocked its enforcement late Wednesday.
A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas told KWTX News 10 that they decided not to resume abortions yet because the law may go into effect again soon.
“We don’t know how quickly the judge’s ruling could get overturned,” said Sarah Wheat, a spokesperson for the abortion chain. “That could come tomorrow. That could come over the weekend.”
A federal judge blocked enforcement of the pro-life law late Wednesday in response to a lawsuit from the Biden administration. However, the Texas Attorney General’s Office quickly appealed the ruling, and pro-life leaders expect a fair hearing at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Wheat said Planned Parenthood is focused on providing birth control in Texas right now while they wait for the court battle to play out.
“Even before [the heartbeat law], Texas made it as hard as possible to get an abortion, including forcing patients to undergo state-mandated ‘informed consent’ visits and 24-hour waiting periods for most patients before their actual abortion appointments,” she told the local news. “We are regularly assessing what’s possible during this period of uncertainty but, given the state’s appeal, our health centers may not have the days or even weeks it could take to navigate new patients through Texas’s onerous abortion restrictions.”
Outside the Planned Parenthood in Waco this week, pro-life advocates with 40 Days for Life stood praying and offering help to women in need, according to the report. One of them, Sheila Webb, said she hopes Texas will defend the law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Each state is sovereign, and we should have the right to have the laws for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness extend even to the pre-born child,” she said.
The law prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Unique from other pro-life laws, it includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows private citizens to file lawsuits against abortionists who violate the law and those who help them.
Pro-life leaders estimate the law saved 3,000 babies from violent abortion deaths during the 36 days it was in effect and has the potential to save tens of thousands more.
U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, an appointee of pro-abortion President Barack Obama, temporarily blocked enforcement of the law, but the courts have not yet ruled on its constitutionality. That means abortion facilities that abort unborn babies with beating hearts right now are risking exposing themselves to lawsuits. The heartbeat law allows lawsuits to be filed against abortionists who violate the law while it is temporarily blocked if the courts later reinstate the law.
Another abortion chain, Whole Woman’s Health, is taking that risk.
On Thursday, it bragged about starting abortions again in Texas, claiming it is doing so “out of compassion for our patients.”
“We were able to provide abortions today to people who had already complied with Texas’ 24 hour-waiting period. We’ve reached out to people on the waiting list we had to turn away in September. In this climate, every single abortion we can provide is a win,” the abortion chain wrote on Twitter.
The federal judge’s ruling late Wednesday came roughly one month after the pro-life law went into effect on Sept. 1. Earlier, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block its enforcement, leaving the law in place while litigation against it continues in lower courts.
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 the new Texas law may save as many as 100 babies’ lives every single day.
While abortion activists say some women are traveling to other states for abortions, they admit that others are having their babies instead. 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.
About a dozen states have passed heartbeat laws to protect unborn babies from abortion, but Texas is the first to be allowed to enforce its law. Whether the 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.