Texas House passes bill to ban abortion once heartbeat is detected

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by Karen Faulkner, Correspondent

(Worthy News) – The House of Representatives has passed a -sponsored bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected at around six weeks gestation, Headlines reports. Bill 8 passed 83-64 in the House on Thursday and is expected to be signed into law once the state Senate has reviewed changes made.

Written and sponsored by almost all Texas Senators and more than 60 members of the House, the bill provides that anyone can sue a medical practitioner, provider, or individual person who assisted a woman in getting an abortion after around six weeks gestation, the Texas Tribune.

Critics of the bill have noted many women are not aware they are pregnant at six weeks and that the legislation makes no exception in the case of rape or incest, the Texas Tribune said. There are also concerns that the provision for suing those involved in getting the abortion may render many different people vulnerable to large lawsuits. In an open letter about the bill, 400 Texas lawyers wrote that the “extraordinary” language of this provision may mean “family members, clergy, domestic violence, and rape crisis counselors, or referring physicians could be subject to tens of thousands of dollars in liability to total strangers.”

The bill is also controversial as there is considerable debate about the science on whether the “heartbeat” is an actual beating or whether it is electrical impulses at this stage in pregnancy.

However, pro-life groups are keen to show that women have alternatives to abortion. “We have more than 200 pro-life pregnancy resource centers, and all those services are free, and their goal is to make women have alternatives to abortion. Our goal is that no woman would seek an abortion because she has no alternatives,” Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, said in a statement.

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