By Patricia Tolson
Florida is exploring the best way to protect life after the Texas pro-life law mostly succeeded the challenges in the courts, Gov. Ron DeSantis’s spokesperson told The Epoch Times.
“At this time nothing has been ruled out,” Christina Pushaw, press secretary for DeSantis told The Epoch Times Tuesday. “Governor DeSantis has always been pro-life. Advances in science, technology, and medicine since Roe v. Wade was decided have only bolstered the pro-life position. With that said, the governor has not indicated that the same legislation recently enacted in Texas will be on the table in Florida. At the same time, nothing is off the table. All the Governor has said is that he’s looking into what the best option might be in terms of legislation to protect life.”
On May 19, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 (pdf), otherwise known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, into law.
The new Texas law bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected and enables private citizens—except for an individual who impregnated a woman through rape or incest—to sue physicians who perform abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The law also allows for civil action against any person who performs the abortion or provides assistance to anyone to obtain an abortion. Anyone found to have violated the law would be ordered to pay $10,000 to the person who files and wins such a lawsuit.
“Our creators endowed us with the right to life,” Abbott said at the bill-signing ceremony in Austin. “And yet, millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion.” Abbott further explained that the bill “ensures that the life of every unborn child who has a heartbeat will be saved from the ravages of abortion.”
On Sept. 1, the Supreme Court denied a bid by the American Civil Rights Union (ACLU), several abortion rights groups, and Texas abortion providers to temporarily block the ban.
On Sept. 9, the United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas over the signing of the bill into law.
The same day, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced the panel will hold a hearing to investigate the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“This anti-choice law is a devastating blow to Americans’ constitutional rights—and the court allowed it to see the light of day without public deliberation or transparency,” Durbin said in a press statement following the ruling. “At a time when public confidence in government institutions has greatly eroded, we must examine not just the constitutional impact of allowing the Texas law to take effect, but also the conservative Court’s abuse of the shadow docket.”
The term shadow docket “refers to decisions from the United States Supreme Court, which are decided outside of its regular docket without oral argument.”
In the 27-page suit obtained by The Epoch Times, government attorneys say the Texas law contradicts previous Supreme Court rulings, including Roe v. Wade, which conclude that access to abortion is a constitutional right.
“I’m pro life,” DeSantis said in response to a reporter’s question regarding the new Texas law at a Sept. 2 press briefing in West Palm Beach, Florida. “I welcome pro-life legislation. What they did in Texas was interesting, but I haven’t really been able to look at enough about it. They’ve basically done this through private right of action. So, it’s a little bit different than how a lot of these debates have gone. So we’ll have to look, I’m gonna look more significantly at it, but I would also say, I mean, what the court basically did is—I don’t think they really even did a substantive ruling on it. They basically said it’s not right yet for a decision, but if it ends up going, then you could consider it at that time. So, I wouldn’t read too much into it. But I do think that, at the end of the day, the science on this has been very powerful now for a long time. If you go back forty years ago, what people thought versus what they can see now, it’s very powerful. So I’ve always been somebody that really does support protections for life as best as we can do it.”