New Texas Law and Planned Parenthood
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Most of the pro-life world is aware that a new abortion law went into effect in Texas last Wednesday, September 1. The law, which is commonly referred to as Senate Bill 8 (the number of the bill that was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, and is now the law), is more properly called the Heartbeat Law.

The law specifically says: “A physician may not knowingly perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman unless the physician has determined, in accordance with this section, whether the woman's unborn child has a detectable fetal heartbeat.” If a heartbeat is detected, the abortion should not be performed.

The law does not prevent the murder of a preborn child whose heartbeat isn’t heard by the abortionist. The law lets the abortionist, himself, document whether or not he heard a heartbeat. In addition, the law states that prohibitions of abortion after a detected heartbeat “do not apply if a physician [i.e., the abortionist] believes a medical emergency exists that prevents compliance with this subchapter.” It, again, leaves it up to the abortionist to make written notations in the pregnant woman's medical record to justify murdering a baby after a heartbeat was detected. 

Thus, the abortionist has a way to commit the abortion even if a heartbeat is detected.

The Heartbeat Law specifically states that enforcement of the law cannot be carried out by anyone acting for the state. So, who can enforce the law?

The law can be enforced only by civil lawsuits brought by ordinary citizens against the abortionists and any other person who, in any way, helped make the abortion happen. 

The actual wording of the bill is: “Any person, other than an officer or employee of a state or local governmental entity in this state, may bring a civil action against any person who: (1) performs or induces an abortion in violation of this subchapter; (2) knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise, if the abortion is performed or induced in violation of this subchapter, regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed or induced in violation of this subchapter.” 

As the implementation date was drawing near, abortionists went to several courts, including the Supreme Court, to have the law put on hold. The lower courts refused to do that, and the law went into effect on September 1.

An emergency appeal was filed with the United States Supreme Court, and, on this past Wednesday night, SCOTUS voted 5-4 to leave the law in force. The five Supreme Court justices supporting the law were Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett; the four justices opposing the law were Sotomayor, Breyer, Kagan, and Roberts.

Clearly, it is the threat of the lawsuits that has the abortionists and their corporations shutting down their abortion facilities in Texas.

Once the law went into effect, the Texas Alliance for Life set up a website to get tips from ordinary people on any abortions taking place after six weeks gestation (the point at which a heartbeat can usually be detected). 

Planned Parenthood reacted immediately, racing to court the night of September 2, to file a lawsuit preventing Texas Alliance for Life from filing lawsuits against its abortionists or others involved with a prohibited abortion. reported: Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in Travis County ruled that the medical providers faced "probable, irreparable, and imminent injury" if they were sued by the private group in connection with abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, as provided for under the law. She issued a restraining order.

Gamble said the temporary restraining order applies not only to Texas Right to Life, but also to "any and all parties and persons in active concert and participation with them." A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for next Monday, September 13.

While all of this plays out, many media sources are reporting on the Texas law as a “ban” on abortions. It is not. As mentioned above, the law does not prevent abortions before a heartbeat is detectable, and even allows the abortionist to determine whether he heard a heartbeat. In addition, it provides an exception for what the bill calls “medical emergencies”—a term that is not defined in the law.