Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Wednesday legislation that bans abortions in the state once fetal heartbeats are detected.
The "fetal heartbeat" bill, effective Sept. 1, will ban most abortions in the Lone Star State, the Austin American-Statesman reports. The restriction, part of an aggressive agenda for Republican lawmakers during the current legislative session, places Texas at the helm of the pro-life fight among conservative states challenging the boundaries of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 controversial Supreme Court case.
Numerous proposals have been designed to limit the availability of the procedure, keeping an eye on the changing power dynamics at the Supreme Court. Conservatives now hold the 6-3 majority since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett last year.
Breezing through both the Senate and House, despite forecasted fervent opposition from congressional Democrats, the measure would allow any private citizen to sue an abortion provider or others who "aid and abet" an abortion in violation of the new ban. Abbott indicated support early on and then signed the bill on Wednesday at a private ceremony that was closed to members of the media.
"Our creator endowed us with the right to life, and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion," Abbott said during live video footage of the ceremony shared to Facebook.
"In Texas, we work to save those lives and that's exactly what the Texas Legislature did this session," he stated.
"This bill ensures the life of every unborn child with a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion," Abbott tweeted, thanking Sen. Bryan Hughes and Rep. Shelby Slawson for "fighting for the lives of the unborn in Texas."
Fetal heartbeats can be detected as early as six weeks gestation or six weeks out from the woman's last menstrual period (LMP), according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which has opposed such bills before.