The struggle to protect human life in the United States took a dramatic turn on September 1, 2021, when a Texas law known as the Texas Heartbeat Act went into effect. The Texas Heartbeat Act (SB 8) bans abortion after fetal cardiac activity becomes detectable; this typically occurs at six weeks’ gestation. The law was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in May.
Also on September 1, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision declining to block the Texas Heartbeat Act from going into effect. The Court’s action does not end the legal battles concerning the new law; it merely means that the law will remain in effect while those battles are fought.
As NBC News explains, “what makes SB 8 different from other states’ anti-abortion laws is how it is enforced: The state government doesn’t ensure that the law is followed. Instead, private citizens, including those outside Texas, can sue abortion providers or people who help women get abortions after the six-week mark, and they can receive $10,000 plus the cost of their legal fees if they win.”
Jonathan Saenz, President of Texas Values (an organization which played a major role in the passage of SB 8 and New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom’s state ally in the Lone Star State), noted that ‘the Texas Heartbeat Act is the first-ever law of its type to go into effect.”
In response to the passage of the Texas Heartbeat Act, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted, “Texas has banned abortion for millions of people, and the Supreme Court has done nothing to stop it — effectively overturning Roe v. Wade. This is wrong and it won’t happen here in New York under my watch. We will continue to fight for the reproductive rights and health of all.” Of course, the Governor’s comment is mistaken. If she truly fought for the health of all, she would fight for the rights and health of the unborn.