Pro-life Texans celebrated Sunday as they marked the 250th day since the historic Texas Heartbeat Act went into effect.
Pro-life leaders believe as many as 20,000 unborn babies have been saved from abortions since September as Texans work not only to end abortions but also to support mothers and babies in need.
“Texas today shows what the movement looks like after Roe is overturned,” Kim Schwartz, spokeswoman for Texas Right to Life, told LifeNews. “Last September, Texas banned nearly all abortions, and since then, we estimate around 20,000 babies have been saved!”
Texans won a huge victory for life last fall when theirs became the first state in decades to be allowed to enforce a ban on abortions before viability. Typically, the courts have blocked laws protecting unborn babies from abortion before viability because of Roe v. Wade, but the U.S. Supreme Court refused abortion activists’ requests in the Texas case – a sign of hope that Roe soon could be overturned.
The Texas heartbeat law bans abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. It also allows private individuals to sue abortionists and those who help them abort unborn babies in violation of the ban.
According to the Texas Tribune, state health data shows a 46-percent drop in abortions from September to December 2021, compared with the same period in 2020. Texas reported 56,358 abortions in 2020, the Charlotte Lozier Institute reports. Data for 2022 is not available yet.
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Pro-life organizations, including the more than 200 pregnancy centers across Texas, also have reported an increase in calls and visits from women seeking pregnancy tests and other resources, according to Christianity Today and the National Catholic Register.
Along with passing the heartbeat law, Texas lawmakers also voted to increase funding for health care and pregnancy and parenting support for low-income families in 2021, including $100 million into the Texas Alternatives to Abortion program, which provides free counseling, parenting classes, diapers, formula, job skills training and more, and additional funding for the Healthy Texas Women program.
Now, it appears likely that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade this summer and allow states to protect unborn babies by banning abortions again.
Even if Roe goes, Schwartz said pro-life advocates’ work is far from over.
“Using private lawsuits to hold abortionists accountable – like the Texas Heartbeat Act does – will be crucial for the Pro-Life movement after Roe,” she said. “Even in the reddest of the red states like Texas, most abortion facilities are located in blue cities where district attorneys are bought by Planned Parenthood.”
Schwartz said several district attorneys across the U.S. have said they will not prosecute abortionists if Roe is overturned, but Texas is ready to deal with that problem.
“Pro-Lifers must have another tool to use in addition to criminal penalties toward abortionists. Other states right now should replicate the Texas Heartbeat Act to save babies immediately and to prepare for the fight after Roe is hopefully overturned,” she said.
Last week, Politico leaked a draft opinion from the court that overturns Roe. The ruling is not final, but it gave pro-life advocates strong hope that the court will rule on the side of life. If the Supreme Court does overturn the 1973 abortion ruling, states would be allowed to protect unborn babies from abortion again, and the Guttmacher Institute predicts as many as 26 states would do so.
Polls consistently show that most Americans support stronger legal protections for unborn babies than what Roe allows. LifeNews highlighted 11 recent polls here. On Monday, Rassmussen published another poll showing more Americans want Roe v. Wade overturned (48 percent) than want the ruling to remain in place (45 percent).
Since 1973, more than 63 million unborn babies and hundreds of mothers have died in supposedly “safe, legal” abortions.