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Abortion, Judiciary

U.S. Supreme Court allows Texas ‘heartbeat’ law to take effect, protecting lives at six weeks

As of today, abortions performed after six weeks of gestational age are illegal in Texas. The six-week “heartbeat” protection law took effect because the U.S. Supreme Court declined to act on petitions submitted by abortion businesses opposed to the law.

States are laboratories of democracy, and Texas enacted a law it felt could go into effect, despite Roe v. Wade and the U.S. Supreme Court’s erroneous abortion precedents, because the state of Texas isn’t responsible for enforcement. Rather, the law empowers Texans themselves to bring lawsuits against anyone who performs or assists in performing an abortion after the six-week “heartbeat” limit, potentially resulting in a civil suit and a $10,000 fine paid by the defendant.

This decision precedes a landmark challenge to Roe and abortion. In its coming term, the Supreme Court will hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that could serve as a basis for striking down Roe and the Supreme Court’s failed abortion jurisprudence.

In the meantime, we should celebrate this achievement in Texas and celebrate that the lives of many preborn Texans may now be protected. Texas’s law is innovative and remains untested. The Supreme Court declined to speak into the issue of standing, because the way the law was written created procedural issues that made a pre-enforcement challenge difficult. Now that Texas’s law has gone into effect, we will see how the Courts react to an eventual and inevitable challenge.

Importantly, no one seeking an abortion can be sued and no woman can be prosecuted under this Texas law. Rather the law is about holding abortion businesses and abortionists themselves accountable for protecting life after a heartbeat can be detected, and establishes a way for any Texan to hold an abortionist accountable if an abortion after six weeks takes place.

We know that abortion businesses are predatory by their nature. Abortion businesses are deadly, dirty, and dangerous for women and their babies. No common-sense regulation is too strong a measure towards the goal of protecting innocent life, even as we continue on the road to abolition of abortion. 

If the Supreme Court fails to recognize the humanity of the child in the womb and extend constitutional protections in Dobbs, then the least the Court can do is protect preborn citizens in a limited way by returning the issue to the states and the people.

I applaud Texas for blazing a trail in the protection of life and hope for other pro-life states to follow. Texas lawmakers refused to accept the injustice of Roe’s arbitrariness when it comes to abortion and rightfully acted with the goal of greater protections for life in the law. 

Texas’s pro-life actions provide the latest example for just how many Americans acknowledge the human right to life.