Texas has become the largest US state to pass new protections to defend life in the womb.
Senate Bill 8, or the ‘Heartbeat Bill’, outlaws abortions from around six weeks except in medical emergencies.
The Bill, signed by Governor Greg Abbott, is set to take effect from September.
‘Right to life’
At the signing ceremony, Gov. Abbott said: “Our creator endowed us with the right to life, and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion”.
He later tweeted that the Bill “ensures the life of every unborn child with a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion”.
Our creator endowed us with the right to life, and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion
Pro-life group Texas Right to Life welcomed the legislation as a “historic step in the battle to protect life”.
The Bill will not be enforced by state authorities, but rather through private lawsuits. These can be launched against abortion providers or anyone else who may have helped someone get an unlawful abortion, with damages of up to $10,000 in each case.
Earlier this year, members of Arkansas’s House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favour of a state-wide ban on abortion, except in cases where the mother’s life is thought to be at serious risk.
The new law upholds the belief that “life begins at the moment of conception” and maintains that the child in a woman’s womb is “a human being”.
Idaho also passed a ‘Heartbeat Bill’ last month, outlawing abortions after six weeks except in cases of medical emergency, rape or incest.