Texas Bill Would Allow Death Penalty for Abortions

Baby in a hat.

Baby in a hat.

In 2017, Texas State Representative Tony Tinderholt introduced a bill that would criminalize women having an abortion, which would make it possible for a woman to get convicted of homicide and sentenced to death. Now, the bill has been reintroduced with Tinderholt arguing that it would force women to think about the consequences of their actions before they had sex.

Making it Harder

“Right now, it’s real easy. Right now, they don’t make it important to be personally responsible because they know that they have a backup of ‘oh, I can just go get an abortion.’ Now, we both know that consenting adults don’t always think smartly sometimes. But consenting adults need to also consider the repercussions of the sexual relationship that they’re gonna have, which is a child,” Tinderholt said in 2017. [1]

Although his bill did not get a hearing in 2017, it’s now being entertained by many- which is a testament of Texas’ view of abortion. The committee’s chairman, Jeff Leach, is slow to bring it to the House though. Some anti-abortion groups are also in opposition to the severe changes to the law that the bill would cause.

Exactly 500 people spoke on the bill- 446 of those all registered their approval [2]. The last 54 people were mainly women’s rights activists, business leaders, and legal experts, which disagreed with what the bill stood for.

“I think it’s important to remember that if a drunk driver kills a pregnant woman, they get charged twice. If you murder a pregnant woman, you get charged twice. So I’m not specifically criminalizing women. What I’m doing is equalizing the law,” [3] Tinderholt said during a hearing Tuesday.

Not the First

Texas isn’t the only state that’s taking back abortion rights; last week legislation was introduced in Alabama that outlawed performing an abortion at any stage of the pregnancy, with the only exception being a threat to the mother’s life.

Other states have recently submitted legislation that cut back on the time in which an abortion can be performed before it becomes unlawful.


Notes:

  1. ^Lawmaker: Proposed Abortion Ban Would Force Women to be ‘More Personally Responsible’.” Texas Observer, 23 Jan. 2017, www.texasobserver.org/texas-lawmaker-no-abortion-access-would-force-women-to-be-more-personally-responsible-with-sex. (go back↩)
  2. ^Stanley-Becker, Isaac. “A Texas bill would make it possible to put women to death for having abortions.” Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/04/10/texas-bill-would-make-it-possible-put-women-death-having-abortions. (go back↩)
  3. ^Fox. “Texas lawmakers consider the death penalty for abortion.” WTTG, 10 Apr. 2019, www.fox5dc.com/news/texas-lawmakers-consider-the-death-penalty-for-abortion. (go back↩)

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