Texas bill aims to criminalize abortions, allows for doctors and patients to face murder charges

(WSVN) - A Texas lawmaker has introduced a bill that would criminalize abortions in the Lone Star State, drawing strong reactions from both sides of the debate.

Republican State Rep. Tony Tinderholt proposed House Bill 948, called the “Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act.”

The proposal alters the state’s murder statute, which currently has an exemption for abortion between a physician and patient. The bill would remove the exemption, making it possible for women and medical providers to be charged with murder for the procedure.

The bill would only allow abortions if the mother’s life is at risk. It does not provide any other exception, meaning victims of rape or incest who are impregnated would face prosecution if they sought an abortion to end their pregnancies.

“I understand the humanitarian side, and I could never put myself in their shoes and imagine what they went through,” Tinderholt told KVUE in Austin. “But I also want people to consider the life of the unborn child.”

Tinderholt said that the bill would reduce the number of pregnancies when women know there are consequences for abortions.

“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,'” Tinderholt said in an interview with the Texas Observer. “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.”

Democratic State Rep. Donna Howard decried the bill, saying the procedure is a decision “that should not be made by someone who has no clue what’s going on.”

“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,” Howard said. “It’s just baffling to me that he could have that lack of compassion and understanding for fellow Texans.”

Blake Rocap, legislative council for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said the bill would likely fail, but even if it did pass, would go against federal law, including the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade.

Rocap said no state law could supercede federal law, “not since the states seceded in the 1860s.”

Texas Republicans declared “abolishing abortion by enacting legislation to stop the murder of unborn children” as a priority for the legislative session.

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