Texas passes 'heartbeat bill' - banning abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy

Texas' Republican governor Greg Abbott has signed a pro-life bill into law, banning the killing of babies in the womb as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

The bill - Senate Bill 8 - is known as the 'heartbeat bill' as it bans abortion once a baby’s heartbeat is detected - this can be as early as 16 days after conception.

Signing the bill into law, Mr Abbott said: "Our creator endowed us with the right to life, and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion. In Texas we work to save those lives, and that's exactly what the Texas legislature did this session."

Unlike previous abortion legislation where the government enforces the law, this bill allows private citizens to sue abortion providers.

The law comes into effect in September.

The Texas bill comes shortly after the Supreme Court announced it would review Mississippi's bid to ban most abortions after 15 weeks, opening the door for an overturn of Roe v Wade - the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling that legalised abortion throughout all states in the USA.

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