National Association of Christian Lawmakers Praises Texas Heartbeat Bill


The National Association of Christian Lawmakers has officially launched a national campaign against the right to abortion.

At its first annual policy conference last weekend, members of the group voted in favor of a controversial new Texas law, the “Texas Heartbeat Bill,” the organization’s first model bill. means similar bills could soon appear in state capitals across the country.

The model legislation, called the Heartbeat Model Act, was unanimously accepted by the executive committee at a meeting on Saturday.

The Texas bill it is based on, Senate Bill 8, prohibits abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur as early as six weeks pregnant. The law also allows any resident of the state to bring a civil action against a doctor who performs an abortion after a heartbeat is detectable. Under the law, a woman who aborts would face civil liability, as would anyone who supported her in the act – from family members to the receptionist who registers her at a clinic.

“Not only is the doctor responsible, but anyone found complicit,” Texas lawmaker Bryan Hughes, author of the bill, said at Saturday’s meeting, chaired by the organization’s founder and chairman, Sen. State of Arkansas, Jason Rapert.

Texas State Representative Bryan Hughes speaks during the opening session of the 2015 Legislative Session Tuesday, January 13, 2015, in Austin, Texas.
Eric Gay, Associate Press

Speaking to Deseret News on Monday, Rapert said the provision allowing residents to bring civil suits against anyone involved in an abortion is like “putting a SCUD missile on this heartbeat bill – they can’t not stop it “.

Rapert was the author of a similar bill in 2013 in Arkansas, parts of which were later struck down by a federal judge. At least one a dozen states have put in place various abortion restrictions in recent years, leading many observers to say that the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision on abortion, Roe v. Wade, is threatened.

Critics of the legislation have likened the Texas law to putting “a premium on the head ”of anyone involved in an abortion; they also called it “unconstitutional”. Last week a supplier group has filed a federal complaint in an attempt to derail the law, which is supposed to go into effect in September.

Speaking to Christian lawmakers in Dallas on Saturday, Hughes reminded lawmakers that the Heartbeat Model Act is just a starting point and that legislation will need to be adapted to work within the laws of each state.

A pro-life man argues with those who attended the Planned Parenthood Action Council of Utah press conference and rally outside the State Capitol in Salt Lake City on August 25, 2015.

An anti-abortion supporter argues with those who attended a press conference and rally organized by the Planned Parenthood Action Council of Utah outside the Capitol in Salt Lake City on August 25, 2015.
Stacie Scott, Deseret News

The National Association of Christian Lawmakers was formed last year with three key goals: to provide networking opportunities for conservative and Christian lawmakers; help lawmakers share successful bills in their states so that lawmakers elsewhere can push through similar legislation; and to support Christians who run for local, state or national office.

At last week’s policy conference, the organization worked to achieve these goals in a variety of ways, including approving the Heartbeat Model Act. The executive committee also passed a resolution supporting Israel’s “right to defend itself against terrorist attacks” and establishing a US-Israel standing committee.

Speaking to the executive committee, Rabbi Leonid Feldman, who was born in the Soviet Union and imprisoned there for his pro-Israel activities, noted that the Jewish people “remember our friends.”

“This conference and this organization will be remembered by the Jewish people,” he said.

The organization also approved a resolution in favor of “electoral integrity”.

The executive committee also approved a second piece of model law: the National Motto Display Model Act. Based on bills passed in Arkansas in 2017 and this year in Texas, legislation requires public schools to display the national motto “In God We Trust” when printed versions of the motto are given to schools or when copies of the national currency are purchased with funds. from private donors.

“As a sponsor of the Texas House Currency Act, I am proud to see a model proposed by the NACL so that lawmakers in all other states can have a mechanism to ensure that our citizens – especially our school-aged children – remember our nation motto, ”said Tom Oliverson, State Representative of Texas and Chairman of the National Legislative Council of the National Association of Christian Lawmakers.

At the executive committee meeting on Saturday, Rapert said Hobby Lobby will make frames available at a reduced price if they are used for national currency exhibitions.

Asked on Monday what other pieces of legislation the organization could adopt as model legislation in the future, Rapert told Deseret News that the National Association of Christian Lawmakers was already considering some options.

Since religious freedom is at the heart of the organization, it could end up passing model legislation similar to the bills being promoted in Texas this year by Olivier. He supported three measures designed to make it harder for the government to force the closure of churches in public emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and a bill that would ensure homeowners associations cannot violate the rights of owners to display religious symbols.

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