Heart Beat Bill Passed


Madisen Tucker, Editor-in-Chief

The Texas state Senate and Gov. Greg Abbott passed Texas Senate Bill (SB) 8, otherwise known as the Heartbeat Bill, on Sept. 1, 2021. The bill bans abortions in the state of Texas six weeks after conception.


“If a Texan’s heartbeat is detected, his or her life will be protected,” state Sen. Bryan Hughes said.


The new law defined fetal heartbeat as a continuous, steady contraction of the heart muscle while in the gestational sac. However, medically a fetal heartbeat cannot be detected within only six weeks of gestation.


“When I use the stethoscope to listen to a patient’s heart, that sound that I hear is that typical bum-bum-bum-bum that you hear as the heartbeat is created by the opening and closing of the cardiac valves,” Dr. Nisha Verma, who specializes in abortion services said. “At six weeks of gestation, those valves don’t exist.”


According to Dr. Verma, what typically occurs that early in the gestation period is electrical activity, and the sounds heard are most likely from the ultrasound machines in the room. OBGYN’s and doctors recognize that the machines make these sounds, and therefore, rule out the possibility of the fetal heartbeat as early as six weeks.


“Everybody knows embryos don’t possess a fully developed heart, but that is what we’re generally calling it, a ‘detectable fetal heartbeat,’” Dr. John Thoppil, president of the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said.


Exceptions to this ban fall under section 3, subsection A, chapter 171 of Texas SB 8. The exceptions are as follows: If a physician notes that the mother will not survive carrying a child to term, an abortion with proper documentation can occur. If there is a case of rape or incest, then an abortion with proper legal documentation can occur.


The law also allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and be rewarded with a minimum of 10,000 dollars. Anti-abortion groups such as Texas Right to Life have set up websites that you can report abortion providers on.


“These lawsuits are not against the women,” John Seago, member of Texas Right to Life said. “The lawsuits would be against the individuals making money off of the abortion, the abortion industry itself. So, this is not spy on your neighbor and see if they’re having an abortion.”


This section of the law creates uncertainty for abortion providers and practitioners across Texas concerning the health of their patients. Doctors such as Dr. Bhavik Kumar from Planned Parenthood predict that patients will seek out-of-state treatment.


“I know that there are many people who don’t have to ability to make it out-of- state, the logistics and ability to do so is not an option for them,” Kumar said. “So, I’m really concerned about what’s going to happen to people.”


Court cases and lawsuits are being pressed against the state of Texas and SB 8 on the basis that the law itself is unconstitutional and violates the medical rights of those seeking an abortion.

As of right now the law will stay in affect.




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