Texas Heartbeat Act Upheld By Federal Appeals Court

A federal appeals court has reinstated the pro-life Texas Heartbeat Act following an order blocking law enforcement by a federal district court. 

On October 6, a federal district court in Texas issued an order restraining the new law’s enforcement on constitutional grounds. The state of Texas appealed that decision to the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and a three-judge panel of that court ruled on Thursday that the Heartbeat Act shall be allowed to stand until a further hearing by the full panel of judges on that court. 

Two of the three judges on the panel voted to allow the law to stand, Judge Catharina Haynes, a George W. Bush appointee, and James Ho, a Donald Trump appointee.

The result of the ruling will prohibit abortions in Texas when a fetal heartbeat is medically detected according to the requirements of the statute that went into effect on September 1.

Texas Right to Life communications director Kim Schwartz issued a statement saying that the group is excited that it will be able to continue saving babies’ lives utilizing the new statute. The message went on to add that the battle is far from over, as the Biden administration is anticipated to appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court, where the group is confident that the court would eventually put an end to the “attacks on our life-saving work.”

The American Civil Liberties Union predictably was upset with the ruling, saying that it permits the Heartbeat Act to “continue to block people from getting essential abortion care.” Its statement continued by saying the “cruel ban will continue to wreak havoc.”

The Heartbeat Act contains provisions that allow for its enforcement through civil lawsuits brought by private citizens even if a federal court temporarily blocks the law if it is eventually upheld. It means that cases can be carried later against providers involved in abortion procedures while the current lawsuits are pending. This ingenious provision of the law is effectively prohibiting abortions in Texas while the cases are ongoing.

Analysts with Texas Right to Life have stated that the new law has likely already saved 3,000 babies from being aborted since the law went into effect. The group noted that the civil penalties provided for in the law are highly effective because the “abortion industry is profit-driven.”