Abortion activists are attacking the Texas heartbeat law from every angle possible, claiming it violates women’s rights, religious freedom and now free speech.
In an opinion piece this week at The Austin Chronicle, graduate student Rachel Osterloh slammed the law for prohibiting anyone from aiding or abetting an abortion on an unborn baby with a detectable heartbeat. In her view, this prohibition could be widely interpreted to include someone who just speaks to a woman about an abortion.
“While SB 8 has severe consequences for bodily autonomy of pregnant people, the policy also quietly – and ominously – restricts the free speech rights of all Texans,” Osterloh wrote. “SB 8 restricts the right of an individual to use their voice to help another person obtain an abortion.”
The law, which went into effect Sept. 1, prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Pro-life leaders estimate the law already has saved thousands of babies’ lives.
Unique from other pro-life laws, it includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows people to sue abortionists and individuals who aid them in aborting unborn babies in violation of the law.
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Osterloh criticized this provision, saying the “vague” language could be widely interpreted to punish individuals who speak with women about getting abortions.
Creatively, this legislation enables individuals to take civil action against those involved in the procurement process for an abortion beyond six weeks. The terms of the bill are vague, but this could include providing transportation, funding, or even information. The scope of the law is purposefully left very wide, as any individual, regardless of whether or not they know the patient or even live in our state, will have the legal ability to pursue a suit for at least $10,000. This runs against the norm for launching a civil suit, as individuals typically must suffer legal damages or injury themselves.
Abortion activists have been fearmongering about the private enforcement mechanism for months, claiming that anyone who helps with an abortion – even in a very remote way, such as giving a woman a ride to the abortion facility – is at risk of being sued. No one has been sued for aiding or abetting an abortion under the Texas law.
However, Osterloh claimed the law still threatens free speech, and pro-life Republican lawmakers are hypocrites for championing it.
“Leading Texas Republicans Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz have made their opinions crystal clear on the importance of protected free speech. SB 8 sidelines this constitutional right as the legislature’s chosen cost to essentially eliminate abortion,” Osterloh continued.
But the law does not restrict free speech or any other right. It protects unborn babies’ right to life by holding abortionists and those who help them accountable for destroying their lives in abortions. The purpose of an abortion is to kill a unique, living human child inside its mother’s womb. The result is the permanent silence, permanent destruction of a child’s voice, their rights and their life forever.
Before the heartbeat law went into effect, about 54,000 unborn babies were aborted in Texas every year. Now, Texas abortion facilities say their abortion numbers are down by as much as 80 percent compared to last year, and they may have to close completely if the law remains in effect much longer, according to the Texas Tribune.
All this means that the law is working. Unborn babies all across the state are being protected so that someday they will be able to enjoy their right to free speech, to liberty and to life.