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State Reps file 'fetal heartbeat' abortion bill

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State Representatives have just filed a bill that would make abortions illegal as early as five weeks into a pregnancy. The timeline is based on when doctors can first detect a heartbeat.

Thursday the Governor signed into law a bill restricting where and when women can have abortions. Republicans are now showing they're not finished.

The Capitol is quiet once again, but don't be fooled. Both sides of the abortion issue are still fighting.

Before the ink was dry on House Bill two which limits abortions to under 20 weeks and toughens standards on abortion clinics, Representative Phil King of Weatherford filed House Bill 59.

It would ban abortions as soon as a heartbeat could be detected. In some cases that's as early as five weeks.

"That's how we measure life, heartbeat, brainwaves. This is a perfect bill to not only take care of the baby, but the woman," said Carol Everett, Executive Director of the Heidi Group.

The Heidi Group is a help center for mothers with unplanned pregnancies. Everett says while there isn't time for the bill to be passed this session, it is a grand statement about what's to come.

"I think it sets the tone for what's next and I think that we're all saying in Texas what's next," she said.

Some say Texas is ready.

"I've seen my grandchildren's heartbeats at six weeks and the thought of someone killing my grandchildren at six weeks would be heartbreaking," Martha Cooper, supporter of the fetal heartbeat bill said.

Shannon Eaton, also a fetal heartbeat bill supporter stated, "I'm Pro-Life. I believe every baby should have the chance to live."

"Personally I believe that someone should be able to have an abortion no matter what stage they're in of pregnancy," said Brenda Lane, who is against the fetal heartbeat bill. "To have a ban on abortion before most women even realize they're pregnant is absurd and extreme."

Heather Busby of the Naral Pro-Choice America says the proposed bill is also illegal.

"These types of bans are clearly unconstitutional. They clearly violate Rowe vs. Wade because they ban abortion in the first trimester when states are not given as must lee-way to regulate abortion," Busby said.

While she plans to attack this from a grass roots level, Representative Harold Dutton of Houston has fired back with a bill of his own.

"I was under no illusion that the bill would pass but what I was trying to do is prick the conscience," Dutton said.

House Bill 45 prevents the new restrictive abortion laws from taking effect until Texas has overturned the death penalty.

"The basis for outlawing abortions is if the creator has created life who are we to take it away," Dutton said.

Statement from State Representative Phil King, (R) Weatherford

"Yesterday I filed HB 59, commonly called the 'fetal heartbeat' bill. This legislation has been considered by other states and was recently advocated by some Pro-Life groups during the current special session of the Texas Legislature. No hearings on the bill are anticipated before the Legislature adjourns at the end of this month. I filed the fetal heartbeat bill because the heartbeat of an unborn child is an important indicator that there is life, and that this life must be protected. Although the bill cannot be formally considered until the Legislature reconvenes in January of 2015, I hope its merit will be examined during the coming legislative interim."

2015 should be a lively session. North Dakota passed a fetal heartbeat bill several months ago. It is now being challenged in court.


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