Texas passes ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban

States continued a nationwide trend of enacting pro-life laws in 2021, with the Texas legislature passing a “heartbeat” bill this week, and Montana enacting funding restrictions on abortion providers.

The Texas state Senate on Thursday passed a ban on abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy. The measure now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) desk, where he is expected to sign it.

SB 8, introduced by state senators Bryan Hughes and Paul Bettencourt, passed the state senate by a vote of 18-12 on Thursday. The bill includes an exception for a medical emergency, but not for cases of rape and incest, according to the Texas Tribune. It would be enforced through private lawsuits and not government action.

The Texas Catholic Conference supported the legislation. A May 3 message from executive director Jennifer Allmon encouraged Catholics in the state to contact their legislators in support of the bill.

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