‘Fetal heartbeat’ bill gains early support in Texas legislature


AUSTIN (KXAN) — So far from the Texas Capitol you’ve mostly heard about property taxes and school finance, but that could soon change.  An abortion measure is quickly gained support among Republicans.

Critics fear it could derail the bipartisan atmosphere currently under the dome.

HB 1500 by Deer Park Republican Briscoe Cain has more than 40 co-sponsors at this moment. The legislature just started in January so it’s an early sign that this could move through the process. Rep. Cain expects 55 signatures on it by the end of the week. 

“There’s a lot of momentum and it’s really hard to argue with this. Public opinion is on our side,” Rep. Cain said.

Texas is one of eleven state legislatures working to stop a doctor from performing an abortion if a heartbeat is detected. The only exception is if the doctor believes there’s a medical emergency. 

“The heartbeat is kind of this universal sign of life,” said Rep. Cain.

Rep. Cain spoke Tuesday as part of the Texas Freedom Caucus saying Pro-Life issues will be one of their priorities.  He’s counting on the new make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court to discourage legal challenges. 

Historically in Texas, abortion issues bring protests and division among lawmakers. So far this year, the session has been calm. Unified Republican leadership has been working on property taxes and schools. 

“School finance reform and things are very important. However, at the same time, we also need to deliver on all those things that matter to Texans,” said Rep. Cain.

“HB 1500 would ban abortion care before many Texans even know they are pregnant. Briscoe Cain’s six-week abortion ban is nothing but a blatant and dangerous attempt to outright ban all abortion care in Texas. If enacted, it would be the most extreme abortion ban in the nation,” wrote NARAL Pro-Choice Texas Executive Director Aimee Arrambide to KXAN, “Politicians should be working to advance access to the full range of reproductive healthcare, including abortion care – not making it more difficult. Shame on Briscoe Cain and all anti-abortion legislators who have signed on in support of this dangerous bill, and for putting their ideological beliefs over public health.”

The next step in the weeks ahead is for this bill to be put in committee, where people can come and share their thoughts on the bill.

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