Senator Brian Hughes Defends Texas Abortion Law That He Set As A Mountain Of Legal Challenges – CBS Dallas/Fort Worth

Watch Doug Dunbar’s report on CBS 11 at 10. It will be posted here after it airs.

Tyler, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – As legal challenges escalate and begin to play against the new Texas Heartbeat law abortion law, state Republican Senator Brian Hughes, the bill’s author, spoke with CBS 11.

He explained why he believed in the legislation and also why there was no exclusion of a mother who might have been a victim of rape or incest.

A Texas law banning most abortions in the state went into effect at midnight on September 1.

The law, signed by Governor Greg Abbott, prohibits abortions once a fetus’s heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks and before many women know they are pregnant.

Doug Dunbar: What do you say to the woman who says, “Who are you, to tell me what to do with my body?”

Senator Brian Hughes: We recognize that there is a mother in a difficult situation, tough choices that we have to make, and we have someone else involved with that. A human being grows inside that mother. The law must respect both. If I was in a situation like this, something terrible happened, would we want to make that worse by killing a child?

Dunbar: You say let’s not make it worse but what if a woman feels it’s her best path?

Hughes: We have two people. Toddler and mother. We want to honor and respect them. We have to protect innocent human life as we do so.

The legislation in its current form does not exclude women victims of rape or incest.

We asked the senator why not?

Hughes: If you were in a situation like this, something terrible happened, would we want to make that worse by killing a child?

Dunbar: You say let’s not make it worse but what if a woman feels it’s her best path?

Hughes: We have two people. Toddler and mother. We want to honor and respect them. We have to protect innocent human life as we do so.

Dunbar: So in this scenario, her opinion doesn’t matter?

Hughes: To the extent that we’re talking about taking away a child’s life, the right to life has to be a priority.

It is this firm belief that led Hughes into politics, he says. Representing parts of East Texas since 2002, where he was born and raised.

Hughes has never married and has no children. But it spawned some major legislation, most notably now, the controversial Senate Bill 8.

Hughes: The majority of women in the Senate voted for SB 8, and many are in Texas House and so, I understand, it’s a very deep issue, no doubt about it, we want to be sensitive when we’re dealing with this stuff but here’s what it comes down to: If we think that the baby The little one in the womb is a human being who deserves protection, this is a human being who deserves protection.

Checking the numbers, the Texas Senate vote saw six out of ten female senators vote in her favour. The majority, but Hughes’ definition of “many” in the House, amounts to only 7 of the 38 lawmakers who voted for it.

The law made national headlines, in part because of the unique way in which it could be enforced.

Hughes: A doctor who doesn’t check a heartbeat and do an abortion, or check a heartbeat, finds one and does an abortion, that doctor has broken the law – he committed an illegal abortion in Texas.

Dunbar: How will you know if they know or not?

Hughes: Here comes the question like any other law is enforced – there has to be evidence. There must be a certificate.

But Hughes made a point of clarity when it came to the question of whether it was citizens who enforced the law.

Hughes: It’s much narrower than what’s been shown on social media

First, the way it was written, the state has no power at all.

Instead, Hughes put power in the hands of private citizens, who could sue anyone who knowingly aided a woman with an abortion. With an important caveat he says he often gets lost in the online firestorm.

Dunbar: So, if someone drives a woman into a clinic with the intent to abort her, can that person be sued?

Hughes: This person should know that there is a fetal heartbeat, and that the baby is going to be aborted.

Dunbar: If Person X is going to have an abortion, if a brother, sister, or friend takes them, and they’re not in the room at the moment, and they’re not in the heart rate room, do they face any liability under your law?

Hughes: You can’t prove a case against them for aiding and abetting.

Dunbar: You have a lot of women who feel their rights have been taken away. Do you understand that?

Hughes: I do, I do, our comments on social media. Hear from people.

He’s right. With one look at his Twitter feed, it’s easy to find a condemnation of the bill he penned, ranging from “utterly horrifying” to “Why do you hate women?”

As he says the number of emails sent to his office in the hundreds, ranging from support, “Thank you for taking a stand,” to disgust, “No man has the right to tell a female what to do with her body.”

But the growing legal challenges for SB 8 will be the ultimate test for the law.

He was anticipating legal hurdles, he told his supporters at a rally last week in Tyler, from a law that deeply divided many.

There is no shortage of those actively fighting against SB 8, and that includes Democratic State Representative Julie Johnson, whose county covers 115 kopecks, the Farmers Branch, Irving, Carrollton, Dallas, and Addison.

As it relates to SB 8 becoming law in Texas as of September 1, it says, “I am very upset that in this place, women have fought for decades, including myself to preserve the right to choose and the fact that the Texas legislature took this unfair step The precedent of restricting needed health care to thousands of Texans is unreasonable to me.”

That’s not all Johnson has to say.

Watch the full interview here:

Meanwhile, SB 8 faces multiple legal challenges, as well as a bill (House Act 99) introduced by a Republican lawmaker who voted in favor of SB 8, but is now asking for exceptions for rape and incest survivors.

State Representative Lyle Larson of District 122, asked Governor Abbott to add this bill to the current special session for consideration.

As of this writing, that hasn’t happened.

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