Texan Legislators Attempting to Make Abortion Punishable By Death

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Texan Legislators Attempting to Make Abortion Punishable By Death

Sophia Dingmon, Editor

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Texan lawmakers are considering a bill that would make women who have an abortion procedure possibly be charged with murder, which is punishable by death in Texas.

Introduced in the Texas House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee, House Bill 896 would remove the exception for criminal homicide that applies to medical professionals and women, and allow them to be charged with the murder of an unborn child.

A part of the bill says, “A living human child, from the moment of fertilization on fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum, is entitled to the same rights, powers, and privileges as are secured or granted by the laws of this state to any other human child.”
The bill has not yet gone to the House for debate or been passed out of committee. The consideration was first introduced back in 2017, but did not receive a hearing. In both chambers of the Texas Legislature, Republicans currently hold a majority.
According to Dallas Morning News, Republican Rep. Jeff Leach, the committee’s chairman, said last week that he would not allow this bill out of committee that “targets the woman with either civil or criminal liability.” Democratic Rep. Victoria Neave says she’s trying to settle “how supporters of the bill would do to a woman ‘the exact same thing that one is alleging that she is doing to a child,’ by making her eligible for the death penalty” (CNN News).
Tony Tinderholt, Texas state Rep. and Republican who introduced the bill, retorted and argued that the bill and legislation does “not specifically target women or specifically criminalizing women,” but “equalizing the law so that everyone that is culpable or takes part in what I call murder … can be punished.”
On Monday’s hearing, the long hours were altogether civil until the committee who is against the bill gave their first statement, calling the hearing a “waste of time and resources”. The communications manager for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Delma Catalina Limonesm gave a statement to CNN, saying, “Chairman Jeff Leach entertaining this bill and giving it a hearing proves that the anti-abortion’s relentless and coordinated attempt to shame and criminalize women who have abortions as well as the doctors who perform that care is dangerous and out of touch with the majority of Texas who believe abortion should be safe and legal.”
Monday’s hearing stretched into the early hours of Tuesday morning, the committee hearing from over 300 witnesses; 446 witnesses had registered their approval for the bill, and 54 are against.
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