Womens Health

Texas Lawmakers File Fetal 'Heartbeat Bill' That Would Ban Abortion After Six Weeks

| by Emily Smith

On Thursday, three Texas Republicans filed a measure that would criminalize abortion after six weeks when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected.

Gawker called the Texan move a “greedy” one.

Rep. Phil King, Rep. Dan Flynn and Rep. Geanie Morrison filed the “heartbeat bill” the same day that Gov. Rick Perry signed controversial abortion restrictions into law, and after Planned Parenthood announced it would close three clinics in Texas. This is the first time that all three representatives have sponsored a bill relating to abortion.

“Our founding fathers realized that ‘Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness’ were among the most essential of the unalienable rights bestowed upon us by our Creator,” King wrote last week. “Over the past several weeks a debate has been raging in Austin over the first and greatest of these enumerated rights: life.”

In addition to criminalizing most abortions, radical “heartbeat bills” require ultrasounds that can only be done with a transvaginal probe. The text of the Texas bill includes a trigger provision, which means it would not take place unless Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Similar trigger provisions have been added in other states in the hopes of quickly banning abortion if Roe is invalidated. The first state to add the provision was North Dakota, though it is being challenged for overstepping Roe.

King said the bill will not be reviewed during the current special session, which ends July 31.

Sources: Chron, ThinkProgress