Texas House Advances Fetal Heartbeat Bill
Written by TM of JC on May 9, 2021
The Texas House of Representatives has passed a bill that would ban doctors from performing abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
According to NBC-affiliate KXAN, Senate bill 8 passed the Texas House on Thursday with an 83 to 64 vote after previously passing the initial vote of 81 to 63 on Wednesday. Usually, a fetal heartbeat is detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
The bill also permits anyone to sue a doctor who performs abortions after that point, or anyone who assisted in the process.
“When a beating heart represents a life within a womb, we have a duty to protect that innocent unborn life,” Republican Rep. Shelby Slawson said on the House floor Wednesday.
Slawson also shared that her mother refused to have an abortion at the suggestion of a doctor who told her that Slawson would not develop normally.
“Now 44 years and two days later, that little baby girl is standing in this chamber. Her heart beating as strongly and as rapidly as it did all those years ago. As she lays out before you Senate Bill 8,” Rep. Slawson said.
Following her remarks, she was met with questions from Democratic lawmakers.
“I value life. My pregnancies, I was very grateful for my children and grandchildren, I’m very grateful for it, but it doesn’t always work that way for everybody,” Rep. Donna Howard, (D – Austin), began at the podium.
“According to the science, the Doppler fetal monitor that has that sound that you gave us a while ago, is not actually the sound of a heartbeat, but an amplified version of signals. You’re not hearing a heartbeat; you’re hearing an amplified version of electrical signals. Did you know that?” she asked Slawson.
In response, the Republican lawmaker said she fundamentally disagreed with that assertion.
“Representative, I’ve had a lot of ultrasounds, and they never once referenced an electrical impulse. It was measured in beats per minute,” Rep. Slawson said.
“I’m just telling you what the science says. And I can’t say what you’ve been told. I’m telling you what the science is now,” Rep. Howard countered.
On Tuesday, a group of faith leaders rallied outside the South entrance of the state Capitol to protest SB 8 and other abortion-restricting measures.
“We may differ in our beliefs about when life begins. But we agree that once life begins, it should be preserved and protected to the greatest extent possible,” Rabbi Nancy Kasten of Dallas said, contending that the mother’s heartbeat matters as well.
Dallas Reverend Erika Forbes also opposed the legislation arguing that it would disproportionately affect women of color. Forbes, who was a teen when she was pregnant, got an abortion due to the fact that she lacked the resources needed to raise a child.
“I was that teenage girl,” she explained.” I didn’t find out I was pregnant until eight weeks in, and had I not had the opportunity to get the abortion that I deserve, that is my legal right, my life would have been decimated.”
Pro-life groups, however, shared that there are alternatives to abortions.
“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 Wednesday.
Senate Bill 6 will now return to the Senate for final approval of revisions added by the House.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Olga Kurbatova
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.