DEMOCRATS FOR LIFE ISSUES CHALLENGES TO ADDRESS RAMIFICATIONS OF TEXAS HEARTBEAT LAW
Washington, D.C., September 7, 2021 -- Democrats for Life of America congratulates the state of Texas as its heartbeat law took effect on September 1, 2021. DFLA particularly appreciates State Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. (a coauthor of the legislation) and State Representative Ryan Guillen, two Democratic members of the Texas State Legislature who voted for Senate Bill 8, as the law is popularly known.
“We herald the first implementation of a heartbeat law, which prohibits abortion after a preborn child’s heartbeat can be detected, as a huge step forward for the culture of life in the state of Texas and the entire United States of America,” said Kristen Day, executive director, Democrats For Life of America. “DFLA is grateful to hear that those who normally perform abortions are planning to obey the new heartbeat law.”
Monica Sparks, President of DFLA, said “Texas has made a bold move to protect future Texans. The people of Texas now have more power to support and protect those that are most defenseless, their preborn. This is a step toward progress in finding ways to fully EMPOWER THE WHOLE WOMAN. DFLA challenges Texas to do more supportive work and address other issues such as: abuse, childcare, education, workplace and workforce, equal and better pay, attainable housing, and environmental justice.”
Ms. Sparks, herself an African American woman, continued, “With 73% of abortions in Texas last year occurring among women of color, this is a racial justice issue. DFLA applauds the reality that more preborn children of color will now survive to birth and will be able to contribute their gifts and talents to our communities. They will be invaluable allies in our struggle for racial justice. In this way, the Texas Heartbeat law advances racial justice. Efforts to support mothers of color is also an important pro-life and racial justice question, and it will require robust, holistic, and culturally-sensitive solutions.”
“As we celebrate this important milestone, we are not complacent, but clear-eyed about the monumental work still ahead to build a consistent culture of life,” said Day. “Today is a good day for the Whole Life movement, but our work is far from over and we challenge Texas to provide support and protections to pregnant women.”
Democrats for Life of America is issuing several important challenges.
DFLA challenges Planned Parenthood of Texas to transition their clinics from providing abortion to providing healthcare which affirms both the life of the mother and the life of her preborn child. As many have rightly pointed out, the heartbeat law alone will not eliminate all demand for abortion. Making sure that pregnant women get the support they need to raise healthy children will drive down the demand. During their 2019 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood provided--across the nation--only 8, 626 prenatal services to pregnant women and only 2,667 adoption referrals. We challenge Planned Parenthood of Texas to provide over 8,626 prenatal services to pregnant women and over 2,667 adoption referralsTexas’s mothers in the next year, before September 1, 2022.
DFLA challenges the state of Texas to become more holistic in its defense of human life. While Texas has a vast network of pregnancy support centers, there is a real need to build an even more robust infrastructure in Texas. The Texas Senate passed the Every Mothers Matters Act (EMMA), which would connect expecting mothers with various local resources. This kind of legislation must accompany restrictions on abortion. The Texas House should stand for resources and support for mothers, and should begin by passing EMMA when the Governor calls an expected third special session to address redistricting. Governor Abbot should then sign EMMA into law.
But the Texas Legislature should not stop there. There is a whole host of legislation they should pass to compliment their heartbeat law and to provide women who might normally choose or be coerced into abortions with resources and support throughout their parenting lives. There are immediate steps the legislature can take including expanding Texas’ Alternatives to Abortion program, expanding Medicaid, expanding access to paid leave, providing adequate accommodations in the workplace for pregnant women, and requiring equal pay for equal work. They should also expand access to perinatal hospice for women whose intrauterine children receive a terminal diagnosis. These examples are only the beginning of the creative horizons that must be pursued to support pregnant and parenting women.
Additionally, DFLA calls on the state of Texas to stay the 7 executions scheduled for the remainder of 2021 and to permanently abolish the state’s death penalty.
DFLA challenges the Supreme Court to return to the states the prerogative to regulate abortion for the health and safety of mothers and their unborn children. We are pleased that the Supreme Court has allowed Texas’ heartbeat law to go into effect, and we ask that allowance to continue.
DFLA challenges all citizens of goodwill throughout Texas and our great nation to build a culture of life at every turn: preventing the violent taking of human life via abortion, the death penalty, and euthenasia. Across these issues and so many others, whether political, social, or cultural, we call upon everyone to join together in affirming and defending all human life at every stage.