Texas Republicans Double Down With New Anti-Abortion Bill

A new bill would ban abortion from the moment something resembling a fetal heartbeat could be detected, usually at six weeks.

That didn't take long. The very same day that Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a sweeping anti-abortion bill that would close most of the state's clinics, forcing many women to travel hundreds of miles for care, Republican legislators introduced an even more restrictive anti-abortion bill. The new bill would ban abortion from the moment something resembling a fetal heartbeat could be detected, usually at six weeks. It has teeth, too:


The bill will also issue a $10,000 fine to any doctor who knowingly provides abortion services after 6 weeks, unless it is dubbed a medical emergency.

Here's something to know about "fetal heartbeat":

Cardiac cells have inherent contractility. They beat in a single cell layer in a petri dish. Personhood ain't in it. #HB59
— @DrJaneChi
 
At six weeks, the embryonic "heart" is a hollow tube one cell layer thick. #HB59
— @DrJaneChi
 

If passed—and there's limited time in the current special session of the Texas legislature to do that—the bill wouldn't go into effect right away:

This subchapter is not enforceable until the 91st day after the date of publication in the Texas Register of a finding of fact made by the attorney general that:
(1)  the United States Supreme Court has issued a decision overruling Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973);
(2)  any other state or federal court has issued an order or judgment restoring, expanding, or clarifying the authority of states to wholly or partly prohibit or regulate abortion under the United States Constitution; or
(3)  an amendment to the United States Constitution that restores, expands, or clarifies the authority of states to wholly or partly prohibit or regulate abortion has been adopted.

The big question there is what (2) means, because the Supreme Court overturning Roe is a very different thing than "any other state or federal court" saying a six-week ban is fine.

Regardless of whether this bill is passed and, if passed, when it would go into effect, it's clear that Texas Republicans are not done—closing most of the clinics in the state and banning abortion after 20 weeks was not enough for them when it comes to restricting women's right and access to abortion.

Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.

 

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