For the first time in Texas history, public testimony is being heard on a bill that would criminalize abortions and hold the women who participate in them liable. The specific bill, introduced by Republican state Rep. Tony Tinderholt, could charge women who have abortions with homicide, making them vulnerable to the death penalty.
Tinderholt had introduced the measure two years ago but was unsuccessful in getting a hearing to consider the bill, according to The Washington Post. Now, a re-energized national anti-abortion movement is pushing the bill to be considered.
However, the passage of such a bill is a longshot. Texans for Life, a local anti-abortion group, is even speaking out against the bill for being too extreme.
But Tinderholt, the author of the bill, insisted to the Texas Observer that new laws are needed to make women “more personally responsible” for sex:
“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.”
Democrats are pushing back at the measure hard and emphasizing the hypocrisy of a “pro-life” bill that could lead to execution.
“That is so ignorant to think… that women are somehow irresponsibly deciding that they’re going to go ahead and get pregnant because it’s so easy to get an abortion,” state Rep. Donna Howard told the Texas Observer.
“… And for the Legislature to insert themselves in these decisions… it’s just baffling to me that he could have that lack of compassion and understanding for fellow Texans,” she added.
Texas House Bill 948 would criminalize abortions in any stage and have no exceptions for victims of rape or incest and pregnancies with severe fetal abnormalities.