The bill, introduced in January, would rework what is classified as a homicide in the state, and it also considers something more
Texas state lawmakers have been having long discussions and debates about a proposed ban on abortion. House Bill 896 would criminalize abortion and classify it as a homicide. Women who have abortions could be sentenced to the death penalty.
According to USA Today, both women who have abortions and physicians who conduct the procedure could be charged with homicide, a charge that can carry a sentenced of the death penalty in the state. The bill was under heavy debate on Monday and Tuesday after being introduced in January.
The inherent lie behind the “pro-life” label is that the life of the woman carrying the fetus is never really considered. This Texas bill just makes that more explicit, merely codifying what so many terrorists have expressed previously with their violence. https://t.co/nuxKyFaYVP— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) 10 April 2019
Moreover, the bill seeks to rework what is classified as homicide in the state, expanding the rights of unborn children. The bill, titled the "Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act," was originally introduced two years ago but failed to gain traction. That changed this week when a hearing was held over the proposal.
"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," state Rep. Tony Tinderholt, a Republican, who introduced the bill, said, according to FOX 5. "What I’m doing is equalizing the law."
The Texas Tribune reports that when Tinderholt was placed under state protection due to the number of death threats that he was getting after introducing the legislation two years ago.
The bill faces an uphill battle as a top Republican lawmaker, who controls whether the bill would go to the House floor for a vote, said the legislation would not advance.
A bill that stalled in the Texas House of Representatives would have criminalized abortions and opened up the possibility for women and physicians to receive the death penalty https://t.co/cugt7CfNtd— The New York Times (@nytimes) 11 April 2019
"I cannot and will not support nor will I let come out of this committee any bill on [abortion] which targets the woman with either civil or criminal liability," Republican Rep. Jeff Leach said last week, according to the Dallas Morning News. He reaffirmed that stance after this week's hearings on the bill, saying that while he is pro-life, this bill does not advance that message.
Texas state representatives have held an official hearing on a bill that is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. If passed, it would convict people who have abortions of homicide and potentially put them on death row. pic.twitter.com/qbX3mDtD8Q— HuffPost (@HuffPost) 10 April 2019
"I am pro-life, through and through. No one can question my credentials on this issue and my commitment to this important cause," he said. "That said, I do not believe that convicting a woman who has an abortion of murder and possibly subjecting her to the death penalty is constitutional, nor does such a policy advance the cause of life in Texas."
Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban abortion in the state and charge women who have abortions with homicide, which can carry the death penalty in the state. https://t.co/3QYYx2E4OX— NBC News (@NBCNews) 10 April 2019
USA Today reports that ahead of Tuesday's hearing, hundreds had signed up to testify over the legislation - most of whom were in the favor of the bill. However, the Democrats were quick to react and pick apart the bill to point out its contradicting aim.
"Let’s get it straight: There is NOTHING 'pro-life' about executing women for choosing to get an abortion" https://t.co/DyUenK1jx8— Evening Standard (@standardnews) 11 April 2019
"I’m trying to reconcile in my head the arguments that I heard tonight about how essentially one is okay with subjecting a woman to the death penalty for the exact — to do to her the exact same thing that one is alleging she is doing to a child,” said Democratic state Rep. Victoria Neave, according to the Washington Post.