House Democrats decried the Texas heartbeat law as “devastating for families” because it has stopped thousands of unborn babies from being aborted in the state.
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday, Democrat lawmakers demanded that the pro-life law be declared unconstitutional. Several abortion activists joined them, calling for more abortions and bemoaning the fact that poor children and African American children are being spared from abortions.
“Sixty-five days. That is how long women in Texas have been effectively stripped of their constitutional right to abortion,” said U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, who chairs the committee.
He blasted the U.S. Supreme Court for refusing twice to block the law, arguing that its decisions are having a “devastating impact on communities and families.”
Texas is the first state to be allowed to enforce a heartbeat law, and pro-life leaders estimate that thousands of babies’ lives already have been saved.
Senate Bill 8, which has been in effect since Sept. 1, prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Unique from other state laws, the Texas law includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows people to file lawsuits against abortionists who violate the law and those who help them.
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Democrats called three pro-abortion witnesses to join them in criticizing the law while allowing Republicans to invite only one pro-life witness: Catherine Glenn Foster, an attorney and president of Americans United for Life.
“If you stopped most Americans on the street and told them that very serious people were convening hearings to call for more abortions to take place, they’d rightly be speechless. Yet that’s what’s happening here today,” Foster told lawmakers.
She urged them to think about the Texas children whose lives have been spared because of the pro-life law. In a few years, she said they will be old enough to understand that national leaders believe it’s “devastating” that they are live.
“What’s devastating is America’s abortion culture and its poisoned fruits: 62 million dead babies killed in history’s first for-profit, corporate-sponsored genocide,” Foster said. “We should be asking ourselves how we can support mothers and fathers from the moment of conception, as Texas does in every city and county through pregnancy resource centers and alternatives.”
Along with passing the heartbeat law this year, Texas state lawmakers increased support for pregnant and parenting mothers and babies, ensuring that they have resources to choose life for their babies. This included $100 million for the state Alternatives to Abortion program as well as additional funding for the Healthy Texas Women program.
But pro-abortion witnesses argued that aborting unborn babies is a good thing, especially unborn black babies and those who would be born into poor families.
Khiara Bridges, a professor at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, claimed the law inflicts “greater harm on Black people” because they have higher abortion rates than other racial groups. By “harm,” she meant more black children will be born.
“I am here today to explain how abortion restrictions and bans, like SB 8 disproportionately impact pregnant people of color – especially Black women,” Bridges said. “The result is that disproportionate numbers of Black people will be among those who are coerced to continue pregnancies and have children against their will …”
She slammed the pro-life law as a “tool of racial oppression” and claimed abortion is “essential to racial justice.”
But Foster, in her testimony, said abortion is the real oppression and it harms people of all races.
“Abortion is the violent tearing apart of helpless children, limb from limb,” she said. “Abortion is the wounding and scarring of women and families for the benefit of multi-billion dollar financial interests. Abortion is a cancer upon America.”
“We can restore America’s greatness by choosing to live joyfully, together. We must offer one another our best choices rather than our worst. Then we can embrace what comes when abortion is no more: a lifetime of joyful possibilities,” Foster concluded.
By six weeks, an unborn baby already has a beating heart and his/her own DNA, separate and unique from the mother’s. The baby’s limbs and major organs are beginning to form, and he/she can move around and respond to light touch. Scientists even have detected unborn babies’ brain waves as early as 6 1/2 weeks after conception, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
The Texas law is saving as many as 100 babies from abortion every day and has the potential to save tens of thousands more. 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.
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. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the Biden administration’s request to block the law, but it has not ruled yet.
A new poll from the University of Houston/Texas Southern University found a solid 55 percent of Texas residents support the life-saving legislation.