Heartbeat Act faces legal hurdle as enactment date nears

Heartbeat Act faces legal hurdle as enactment date nears

Heartbeat Act faces legal hurdle as enactment date nears

A Texas-based pro-life group is among those being sued in the first major lawsuit filed against a new state law intended to save the lives of unborn children.

Set to go into effect on September 1, the Texas Heartbeat Act (SB8) bans abortions in the state as early as six weeks. But as John Seago, legislative director for Texas Right to Life, explains, a pro-abortion attorney in Dallas – seeking a temporary restraining order to block the pro-life law – has filed as a plaintiff against Governor Greg Abbott and a handful of legislators in both the State Senate and House.

"[That attorney] then named Texas Right to Life and me personally as defendants to keep us from enforcing the Texas Heartbeat Act that we helped pass this year," Seago adds.

That attorney is women's rights advocate Michelle Simpson Tuegel, who argues in a story published by SpectrumLocalNews.com: "This bill is yet another desperate attempt by the state of Texas to undermine a woman's right to choose – this time by dismantling her legal support system. It unlawfully attempts to block attorneys' communications with their female clients, especially at times when the clients need them the most."

She adds: "The way that this bill is written, there is no exclusion for attorneys [who offer legal advice] – and I think that was intentional."

According to Seago, that's clearly not the intent of SB8.

"The Texas Heartbeat Act is unique in that the way of enforcement is only by private lawsuits, through pro-lifers suing abortionists who are violating the law," he explains. "There is no criminal element where we're asking local district attorneys to do something that they don't want to do – [to] go after abortionists, [which] they don't do it anyway – and we are not asking the government to take someone's license away."

The goal, says Seago, is to save preborn children who are going to have their lives taken away from them in a violent manner if this legislation is not followed.

"Some of the reporting makes it sound as if the goal of this legislation was just to sue abortionists," says Seago. "No – the goal is to save lives, and so that's what we're hoping is going to happen on September 1: that the abortion industry will announce it's too risky for them to do abortions after six weeks and that they're going to stop their industry that makes money off of selling abortions to Texas women."

Texas Right to Life has set up a website (ProLifeWhistleblower.com) to "collect tips and information that will help sue the abortion industry if they decide to break the law." Seago says that's what is "getting under the skin" of the abortion industry – and why he and his organization are under attack.

"This is kind of proof that we're serious about bringing these civil lawsuits if the abortion industry decides to break the law and do abortions after six weeks," he adds.