Texas Republicans Now Pushing for 6-Week Abortion Ban
12:30 pm, July 19th | by Grace Rasmus
For those of you who thought you might get a teeny tiny break from Texas’ anti-choice insanity after Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) finally signed SB2, we have bad (but predictable) news: Texas got even crazier. Rep. Phil King (R-TX) has filed a new bill, HB 59, restricting “abortion after detection of a fetal heartbeat,” which can happen as early as six weeks after fertilization.
The bill defines a fetal heartbeat as “cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac.” It would require that a doctor perform a test to verify that no fetal heartbeat can be detected, the results of which must be presented to the woman who then has to sign her acknowledgement. Doctors who knowingly provide abortion services in violation of this decree would be subject to a misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $10,000. The bill makes an exception for a “medical emergency.”
The only other U.S. state with such harsh abortion restrictions is North Dakota. Yet, while North Dakota’s legislation is definitely in need of reform (and it is currently being challenged in court), North Dakota women still have an advantage over their Texan sisters due to their state’s size. North Dakotans can probably get to a neighboring state (with less restrictive abortion measures) with more ease than Texas women, most of whom would have to travel several hours just to get out of state. Consequently, a rise in the incredibly dangerous practice of “flea market abortions” is practically inevitable.
Thankfully, there’s not much time for the fetal heartbeat bill to make its way through the special session (although committee hearings could take place next week), giving it a small window for consideration.