What does the Heartbeat Bill mean for me
Updated: Nov 17
It has been a little over a month since the Texas Heartbeat Act went into effect. The law brought excitement to some, frustration to others, and confusion to many. The 5000-word document is overwhelming to the average reader, and all the legal jargon makes it hard to understand. It seems that people writing for almost every local and national publication have something to say about the new law. The Heartbeat Act brought concerns and questions to thousands of women in the state of Texas who are facing unplanned pregnancies. What exactly does this law mean for women who now feel trapped in a situation they did not want to be in?
In laymen’s terms, the Texas Heartbeat Act prohibits abortions in the state of Texas after a fetal heartbeat is detectable. This happens when a woman is around 6 weeks pregnant. A physician is required to attempt to detect a heartbeat using the standard medical procedure appropriate for the stage of a woman’s pregnancy. If a physician can detect a fetal heartbeat, they cannot legally preform an abortion in the state of Texas.
The Heartbeat Act is enforced by private individuals bringing civil action against physicians performing abortions and against individuals aiding and abetting in illegal abortions. No lawsuit can be brought against a woman who has obtained and/or is seeking to obtain an abortion.
While the Heartbeat Act limits abortions in the State of Texas, it does not make them illegal. If a woman confirms that she is pregnant and then has an ultrasound in which the sonographer is unable to detect a heartbeat, she is legally allowed to have an abortion. The Heartbeat Act also makes a provision for the health of the mother. If her physician believes a medical emergency exists that would prevent a mother from being able to safely continue her pregnancy, she is able to have an abortion. The Heartbeat Act also ensures that women who have suffered a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy are able to receive the treatment they need.
For women facing unplanned pregnancies, the Texas Heartbeat Act seems to take away their only means of escape from a hard situation. While some women find out they are pregnant before even missing their period, many women do know they are expecting until they are close to 6 weeks pregnant. Planned or unplanned, each pregnancy holds its own set of challenges.
The Center for Pregnancy is here to provide you with a safe and confidential place to learn about your pregnancy options and allow you to consider what the best choice is for you and your baby. No matter what laws are in place, we are here to help and support you and let you know that you are not alone! Visit our booking page to schedule your free pregnancy test appointment. We hope to see you soon!