By now you’ve heard that Texas passed the Heartbeat Act (SB 8) last week. This Act prohibits anyone from assisting in or performing an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the nearly 5,500 word count of the recently passed “Heartbeat Bill”. Abortion is a hotly debated topic both in and out of the Christian sphere. For the first time in a while, Christian voices and opinions are being aired on prominent, nonchristian sites and publications. Let’s look at Texas’ history with abortion legislation to fully understand this news.
- Texas has been a Pro-Life state for a long time. In 1854, Texas passed a law that made performing an abortion, except in the case of preserving the life of the mother, a criminal offense punishable by two to five years in prison.
- Roe V Wade (1973) was a landmark Supreme Court case, originating in Texas, that decided no state can prohibit access to abortion and protected it as a woman’s right under the Due Process Clause of the 14th amendment.
- The ’90s and 2000s saw nearly half a dozen abortion bills ratified into Texas state law. They ranged from not allowing state funding for abortions to requiring women to be shown ultrasounds prior to aborting. A similar bill to SB 8 didn’t make it through legislation.
- Late in the evening on September 1st, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to deny an emergency ban, allowing the bill to stand. It remains to be seen if/when the Supreme Court will have its full say on the Heartbeat Act.
It was always going to be Texas. But does what happened in Texas stay in Texas? Most likely not.
- There are 23 other states with Republican-run legislatures and Governors. Florida is already looking to replicate the Heartbeat Act and they won’t be alone.
- The Act allows a civil suit to be filed against anyone who provides or aids in abortion for up to $10K in fines. No jail time is required, the woman seeking the abortion cannot be sued, a rapist cannot file against their victim, and life-saving abortions are allowed when a woman’s life is at risk before the viable age of a baby.
- The Biden Administration is vowing to “explore all options” in challenging SB 8.
Other than a likely challenge that goes to the Supreme Court, what else does this mean for the future of abortion? This ban essentially puts regulation of abortion in the hands of the populace at large, keeping the state out of it. If it stands after federal review, most likely other states will go “Texas Style” on similar bills.
In Texas, there are 9 pregnancy resource centers for every 1 abortion facility. Most of these centers provide care way beyond pregnancy and all of them are free. Donating to a life-affirming pregnancy center is always a good idea, but especially now, it provides reassuring care and comfort for women and children who need it most.
Most people’s beliefs aren’t changed by reading a tweet or post about abortion. Before retreating to an echo chamber of opinions or having a heated exchange online, remember to deliver the truth in love. And preferably not on Twitter.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”Ephesians 4:15