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AUSTIN (LifeSiteNews) — A federal appeals court has given orders to dismiss all challenges to the unique enforcement mechanism of Texas’s pro-life Heartbeat Act, which empowers private citizens to file civil lawsuits against abortionists.

The U.S. 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday remanded the primary lawsuit opposing the enforcement method of the Heartbeat Act (SB 8) back to district court Judge Robert Pitman, with orders to dismiss all challenges.

“Having received the ruling of the Texas Supreme Court that named official defendants may not enforce the provisions of the Texas Heartbeat Act… this court REMANDS the case with instructions to dismiss all challenges to the private enforcement provisions of the statute and to consider whether plaintiffs have standing to challenge,” the ruling stated.  

Tuesday’s decision finalizes a March ruling by the Texas Supreme Court to uphold the pro-life law against a lawsuit which had suggested that state officials had a role in enforcing the measure. 

READ: Heartbeat Law wins at Texas Supreme Court

The Lone Star State’s hotly contested Heartbeat Act bans abortions after a baby’s heartbeat can be detected (usually around six weeks gestation), and relies on civil lawsuits rather than criminal prosecution for its enforcement.

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The Surgi-Center, a Washington, D.C. abortion clinic infamous for offering late, second trimester abortions, and its owner, abortionist Cesare Santangelo, are at the center of a scandal involving possible violations of federal laws against partial-birth abortion and infanticide.

In an exclusive video interview with LifeSiteNews, Lauren Handy, the director of activism at Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), told LifeSiteNew's Editor-in-Chief, John-Henry Westen that, with the help of a whistleblower, her organization rescued and properly buried the remains of about one hundred aborted babies from Santangelo's Surgi-Center.

But, five of the deceased babies were so large and so developed that they suspected the Surgi-Center of engaging in the illegal practices of partial-birth abortion or infanticide (i.e., killing the child after birth) à la Kermit Gosnell.

The shocked pro-lifers then gave the aborted babies to the police and brought the matter to the attention of the D.C. Medical Examiner's office. But, the Medical Examiner's office has refused to take any action, saying they will not perform autopsies on the babies.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition to the Department of Justice, asking them to launch an investigation into alleged violations of federal law by Santangelo and the D.C. Surgi-Center, under either the Partial Birth Abortion Act (2003) or the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (2002). *Anyone - no matter where you reside - can sign this petition!

Unfortunately, the story doesn't end there.

Handy and eight of her fellow pro-life rescuers in PAAU are, themselves, now facing jail-time after being arrested by the FBI for conducting a traditional pro-life sit-in in October, 2020, at the very same abortion center from which the late-term deceased babies (mentioned above) were rescued.

Please note that the two events - the pro-life rescue in 2020 and the gruesome discovery of the five near-to-full-term babies in the Surgi-Center's "bio-medical waste" earlier this year - are almost one-and-a-half years apart.

Thus, Handy believes that their recent arrest is no coincidence...and, moreover, that the FBI is being used to create a smokescreen by arresting her and the other pro-lifers.

At the same time, the D.C. Medical Examiner's office does not seem interested in discovering the truth about the deaths of the five aborted babies and possible illegal partial-birth abortions or infanticide happening at the D.C. Surgi-Center.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition to the Department of Justice, asking them to launch an investigation into alleged violations of federal law by Santangelo and the D.C. Surgi-Center, under either the Partial Birth Abortion Act (2003) or the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (2002).

The DOJ press release claims that the pro-lifers: "engaged in a conspiracy to create a blockade at the reproductive health care clinic to prevent the clinic from providing, and patients from receiving, reproductive health services."

But, commenting on the arrest, Lauren Handy stated: "Media reports have stated that we ‘invaded’ the abortion center and ‘disrupted’ women from exercising their ‘reproductive rights’. No, that is not what we did."

"We entered the clinic and sought to love the women who were already there for their abortion procedures," Handy said. "We tried to offer them help so they would choose life. We non-violently defended the unborn who were about to be exterminated – the innocent, the most vulnerable, killed in horrific acts of violence and treated as so much trash."

Tireless pro-life activist Dr. Monica Miller, the director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and leader of Red Rose Rescue, told LifeSiteNews that "this is the first time any of them are facing federal charges. That the rescuers were hunted down by FBI agents is unprecedented in the history of pro-life activism."

All of this...possibly...for discovering five near-or-at-term aborted babies at Cesare Santangelo's D.C. Surgi-Center, and for seeking to give justice and dignity to the murdered babies.

The truth now needs to come out!

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition to the Department of Justice, asking them to launch an investigation into alleged violations of federal law by Santangelo and the D.C. Surgi-Center, under either the Partial Birth Abortion Act (2003) or the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (2002).

Thank you for SIGNING and SHARING this urgent petition!

To contribute to the legal defense of Lauren Handy and the other eight members of PAAU, please CLICK on the following link to find out more about their LifeFunder campaign (also operated by LifeSiteNews): https://www.lifefunder.com/victims

Thank you!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Pro-life hero raided by FBI speaks about the aborted babies she was trying to honor' - https://rumble.com/vzsslx-exclusive-pro-life-hero-raided-by-fbi-speaks-about-the-aborted-babies-she-w.html

'Pro-lifers arrested in FBI raids, face 11 years in prison for blocking access to late-term abortion mill' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pro-lifers-raided-charged-and-face-11-years-in-jail-for-blocking-access-to-infamous-dc-abortion-mill/

'BREAKING: Video surfaces of FBI raid, arrest of nonviolent pro-life activists' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-video-surfaces-of-biden-fbi-raid-arrest-of-nonviolent-pro-life-activists/

'Court Docs reveal previously unknown patient death due to negligence at late-term abortion facility' - https://www.operationrescue.org/archives/court-docs-reveal-previously-unknown-patient-death-due-to-negligence-at-late-term-abortion-facility/

**Photo Credit: YouTube screenshot of pro-lifers protesting outside the Surgi-Center abortion facility, in Washington, D.C.

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The provision in the legislation which sparked the legal challenge thrown out Tuesday was its enforcement mechanism that empowers private citizens to file lawsuits against abortionists and anyone suspected of aiding or abetting an abortion.

Opponents of the bill have decried the provision as promoting as “vigilantism,” while proponents of the law point out it’s a useful work-around until the federal “right to abortion” established in Roe v. Wade is overturned.

On Tuesday Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott hailed the federal court’s decision to throw out the lawsuit as “[a]nother legal loss” for abortion proponents, and highlighted the fact that the state’s pro-life law “is saving babies every day.”

The Heartbeat Act has been credited with reducing the abortion rate in Texas by 60% in the first month after it was enacted.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also weighed in on the Tuesday ruling, praising his team “for bringing win after win for the unborn in Texas.”

“The Texas Heartbeat Act is one of the greatest pro-life laws in the nation, and I’m glad to defend it,” Paxton said. “Tens of thousands of babies have been saved in Texas because of SB 8 and our victories in court!”

The major pro-life law has withstood myriad legal challenges since it was signed into law by Gov. Abbott last year.

Pro-life group Texas Right to Life has stated that a total of 22 lawsuits have been filed thus far to try to stop enforcement of the pro-life measure. The Texas Supreme Court has upheld the law three times so far.

The life-saving legislation has inspired many pieces of copycat bills in other Republican-led states, as lawmakers gear up for the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade this summer, sending the issue back to individual states.

READ: Idaho passes Texas-style bill banning abortions on babies with detectable heartbeats

The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision in the crucial case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, this June.

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