'Heartbeat' bill gains momentum in Texas

Texas has several laws that women seeking abortions have to navigate, including a 24-hour waiting period between a mandatory ultrasound and the procedure.

One lawmaker has filed a bill to add another restriction — banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks, before a woman may realize she’s pregnant.

Republican Rep. Briscoe Cain’s “Texas heartbeat bill,” HB 1500, would ban abortion after heartbeat detection except in the case of medical emergencies. Current law allows abortion up to 20 weeks.

“The Texas Heartbeat Bill ensures that unborn children exhibiting a heartbeat are protected from the cruel practice of abortion,” the Deer Park lawmaker said in an email. “Put simply — if the heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected.”