By Doug Dunbar

TYLER, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – As legal challenges mount and begin to play out against the new Texas Heartbeat Act abortion law, Republican State Sen. Bryan Hughes, author of the bill, spoke with CBS 11.

He explained why he believes in the legislation and also why there was no carve-out for a mother who may have been the victim of rape or incest.

The Texas law banning most abortions in the state took effect at midnight September 1.

The law, signed by Governor Greg Abbott, prohibits abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks and before many women know they’re pregnant.

Doug Dunbar: What do you say to women who say, “Who are you, to tell me what to do with my body?’

Sen. Bryan Hughes: We recognize there’s a mother in a difficult situation, hard choices to make, and we have another person involved. A human being growing inside that mother. And the law has to respect both. If you’re in a case like that, a terrible thing has happened, would we want to make that worse by taking the life of a child?

Dunbar: You say let’s not make it worse but what if the woman feels it’s the best avenue for her?

Hughes: We have two human beings. A little baby and the mother. We want to honor and respect both of them. We have to protect innocent human life as we do that.

The legislation as it stands, spares no exception for women who are victims of rape or incest.

We asked the Senator, why not?

Hughes: If you’re in a case like that, a terrible thing has happened, would we want to make that worse by taking the life of a child?

Dunbar: You say let’s not make it worse but what if the woman feels it’s the best avenue for her?

Hughes: We have two human beings. A little baby and the mother. We want to honor and respect both of them. We have to protect innocent human life as we do that.

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

Hughes: To the extent that we’re talking about taking the life of the child, the right to life has to take precedence.

It’s that firm belief that led Hughes to politics he says. He’s represented parts of East Texas since 2002, where he was born and raised.

Hughes has never been married, he has no children. But he has fathered some major pieces of legislation, now most notable, the highly controversial Senate Bill 8.

Hughes: The majority of the females in the senate voted for SB 8, and many in the Texas House and so, I understand, it’s a deeply visceral issue, no question about that, we want to be delicate when we handle these things but here’s what it comes down to: if we believe that little baby in the womb is a human being deserving of protection, then that’s a human being deserving of protection.

Checking the numbers, the Texas Senate vote did see six of ten female Senators vote in favor. A majority, but Hughes’ definition of “many” in the House, amounts to just 7, of the 38 female representatives voting in favor.

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

Hughes: The physician who doesn’t check for a heartbeat and does an abortion, or checks for a heartbeat, detects one and does an abortion, that physician has broken the law – he’s committed an illegal abortion in Texas.

Dunbar: How will *you know if they do or don’t?

Hughes: That’s where the question comes in like any other law enforced – there’s gonna have to be evidence. There’s gonna have to be testimony.

But Hughes brought up a point of clarity when it comes to the issue of citizens being the ones to enforce the law.

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

First, the way it’s written, the state has no authority at all.

Instead, Hughes put the power in the hands of private citizens, who can sue anyone who knowingly helps a woman get an abortion. With one crucial caveat that he says is often lost in the online firestorm.

Dunbar: So if someone drove a woman to a clinic with the intent of getting an abortion, that person could be sued?

Hughes: That person would have to know there was a fetal heartbeat, and the baby was going to be aborted.

Dunbar: If person x is going to get an abortion, if a brother, sister or friend takes them, and they’re not in the room for the moment, not in the room for heartbeat detection, do they face any liability under your law?

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

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

Hughes: I do, I do, our social media comments. We hear from folks.

He’s right. One look at his Twitter feed, and it’s easy to find condemnation of the bill he crafted, ranging from “absolutely horrifying,” to “why do you hate women?”

Emails sent to his office also number in the hundreds he says, ranging from support, “thank you for taking a stand,” to disgust, “no male has a right to tell a female what to do with her body”.

But it’s the growing legal challenges to SB 8 that will be the ultimate test of the law.

Legal hurdles he expected, as he told supporters at a gathering last week in Tyler, from a law that has deeply divided so many.

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

As it pertains to the SB 8 becoming law in the state of Texas as of September 1, she says, “I’m very upset that we’re in this place, women have fought for decades, myself included to maintain the right to choose and the fact that the Texas legislature took this unprecedented step to restrict the necessary healthcare for so many thousands of Texans is unconscionable to me.”

That’s not all Johnson has to say.

Watch the full interview here:

Meanwhile, SB 8 is facing multiple legal challenges, as well as a bill (House Bill 99) which has been filed by a Republican lawmaker who voted for SB 8, but is now asking for exceptions to be made for survivors of rape and incest.

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

As of this writing, that has not happened.