Texas Lawmakers have proposed legislation that would give equal treatment for unborn human beings under the law and make abortions punishable by the States Death Penalty.
According to The Huffington Post, In total 446 people testified in support of the “Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act,” or House Bill 896, which aims to outlaw all abortions “regardless of any contrary federal law, executive order, or court decision.” State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R) introduced the bill in 2017, which would define abortion as murder which is punishable by death in the state of Texas.
“God’s word says, ‘He who sheds man’s blood, by man ― the civil government ― his blood will be shed,’” Sonya Gonnella, a supporter of the bill, testified in the hearing before the Texas House’s Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence on Monday.
After quoting the Book of Genesis, Gonella implored the committee to “repent with us” by passing the proposed legislation.
Lawmakers also heard from people opposed to the bill. In total 54 Texans, including women’s advocates and legal experts, testified against the bill, according to the Washington Post. The hearing wrapped up at 3am.
Those supporting the bill came to the Texas Capitol Rotunda ahead of the hearing on Monday night, chanting “abolish abortion” and “equal protection for all.”
Scene at #txlege where members of Abolish Abortion TX are chanting, soon to be holding a rally, and later testifying on HB 896, which would abolish abortion in the state of Texas. pic.twitter.com/TcAqWcXxS1
— Katie Balevic (@KatelynBalevic) April 8, 2019
Under the proposed legislation, an embryo would be afforded the same “rights, powers, and privileges as are secured or granted by the laws of this state to any other human child.”
“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,” Tinderholt said during the hearing, according to Fox 9.
The chairman of the Texas House committee Rep. Jeff Leach (R) announced last week that in the spirit of creating a “culture of life” he would grant a hearing on Tinderholt’s bill, Dallas News reported.
The Post also noted that Leach appeared to be openly reluctant about a bill that is so flagrantly unconstitutional.
“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.”
Tinderholt told The Post on Wednesday that “there is a lot of misinformation” being spread about his proposed bill.
“My bill simply accomplishes one goal. It brings equal treatment for unborn human beings under the law,” he said, in part, adding:
… Some think we should exempt mothers, but that would inherently treat unborn children differently than other people who are murdered. Other sections of Texas code already define what an abortion is. This definition makes it very clear that an abortion does not include contraceptives, miscarriage, or removal of an ectopic pregnancy.
We also have protections for women in the case of a medical emergency or if they are coerced or under duress. None of those instances would result in any penalties whatsoever.
Finally, we trust prosecutors and juries to show deep sympathy toward women, many of whom are lied to and manipulated into getting abortions. Men who assist or compel a woman to have an abortion would be subject to severe punishment with Texas’ law of parties, which is currently in statute.