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Texas Gov. signs 'fetal heartbeat' bill banning most abortions

Migrant Children Texas
Posted at 11:27 AM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 12:52:30-04

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed legislation Wednesday that prohibits a woman from getting an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The measure effectively bans most abortions in the state.

The measure also allows anyone in the state to sue an abortion provider or others who "aid and abet" an abortion in violation of the new law.

Abbott signaled his support early on for the measure, and after it passed easily through the Republican-controlled state Senate and House, the governor signed it Wednesday at an event that was closed to members of the press.

Abortions will only be allowed in Texas before the presence of a fetal heartbeat, baring a medical emergency. A fetal heartbeat can usually be detected around six weeks gestation, or about six weeks from a woman's last menstrual period.

"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 a live video 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."

The new law will go into effect Sept. 1.