The new pro-life Texas Heartbeat Act has been in effect since September 1 and is already saving the lives of more than 100 babies every day in the Lone Star State. A vital component of the law that makes it less open to judicial attacks by abortion activists has made it immediately effective in stopping abortion procedures.
The new law makes most abortions in Texas illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detected medically, which typically happens at around the sixth week of pregnancy. The law also provides that any provider involved in providing an illegal abortion and anyone assisting in obtaining the abortion can be sued in civil court. The new law differs from previous abortion statutes in that it is not allowed to be enforced by state agents. It is enforced by private persons, who are now authorized to file lawsuits against violators.
Reports from Texas indicate that abortion providers have been complying with the law, with up to 85 percent of abortions that would have been legal previously now prohibited. That means that more than 100 babies on average each day are not being aborted as a result. Abortionists are concerned about the new law’s enforcement mechanisms.
The civil penalties contemplated by the new law threaten the profitability of abortion. The industry will comply even as it is challenging the law in court to protect its existing revenues and ability to remain open.
Although the corporate media and abortion advocates have been calling the new law “vigilantism” and a “bounty” system, the penalties are set up to deter illegal activity and not promote lawlessness or take the law to the streets. Enforcement occurs through ordinary civil legal procedures entirely in court before judges.
The same standards that protect defendants in court from all improperly brought lawsuits to apply under the new law. No “frivolous lawsuits” are permitted under the Heartbeat Act.
Of course, the new law is already being contested in court. A petition has already been filed with the Supreme Court asking to take the case up before the standard trial and appeals process is completed. In the meantime, thousands of newborn Texans are going to be given a shot at life that would have been previously denied.