The Texas Heartbeat Act: Quick Facts
- The Texas Heartbeat Act prohibits elective abortions after an unborn child’s heartbeat can be detected.
- An unborn child’s heartbeat can be detected by six weeks.
- Before an abortion occurs, the abortionist must determine whether the child’s heartbeat is present using methods according to standard medical practice. If a heartbeat is present, the abortionist cannot abort the child.
- The law imposes no criminal penalties. Instead, the law enables civil remedies by allowing any person to sue an abortionist who violates the law, or anyone who aids or abets in an abortion, such as “abortion fund” entities who pay for prohibited abortions.
- The law’s civil-liability provisions do not apply to the mother who seeks or obtains an unlawful abortion. The mother is completely immune from lawsuits and cannot be prosecuted under the law.
- The law contains an exception for medical emergencies.
- Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) signed the bill into law on May 19, 2021, and the law took effect on September 1, 2021.
The Texas Heartbeat Act: Talking Points
- The Texas Heartbeat Act was debated by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Abbott. This is how democracy is supposed to work. The Texas legislature acted on the will of the people to protect innocent unborn children and mothers.
- The pro-life movement is hopeful that the Supreme Court will soon allow all states to let democracy do its job and let the people in all 50 states debate when life should be protected under the law.
- The Texas Heartbeat Law reflects scientific reality that unborn children at six weeks are human beings with beating hearts who deserve legal protection to live. The majority of Americans support updating and humanizing our extreme outdated abortion laws.
- Texas’s Heartbeat Act does not criminalize or penalize mothers who seek or receive an illegal abortion. Instead, the law allows citizens to pursue civil remedies against abortionists who perform illegal abortions, and others that aid and abet in the performance of an illegal abortion. The law contains an exception for medical emergencies that are properly documented.
- The pro-life movement rallies around and supports vulnerable mothers and unborn children. In the latest reportable year of 2019, approximately 2,700 pregnancy care centers across the country served over two million people with essential medical, education, and support services at an estimated value of nearly $270 million.
Summary points provided by the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List).