Throughout this legislative session there has been intense debate among Republicans over legislation to abolish abortion in the Lone Star State.
Recently, a bill to accomplish that task, House Bill 896, was heard in the House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence. Following the hearing, the committee’s chairman, Jeff Leach (R–Plano), announced he would refuse to hold a vote on advancing the measure because it would criminalize women who obtain an abortion.
The author of the legislation, State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) says that the law should afford the same protection to the lives of those inside the womb as those already born and that ending a life should carry the same consequence.
Here is Tinderholt’s statement:
“There is a lot of misinformation being spread about HB 896, and I would like to clear up some of the confusion. My bill simply accomplishes one goal. It brings equal treatment for unborn human beings under the law. Section 1.07, Subsection 26, of the Texas Penal Code already defines an individual as “a human being who is alive, including an unborn child from fertilization until birth.” However, Texas law provides two exceptions to homicide for a mother or a medical professional who performs an abortion.
The Fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution guarantee due process of law to take an individual’s life and, as previously mentioned, an individual includes unborn babies in Texas statute. 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. Equal protection, equal treatment, and equal love is a must for all men and women, whether in the mother’s womb or as a member of society.”