A bill is being considered in Texas that would make women who get abortions face the death penalty.
The litigation, which was first introduced by Republican Rep. Tony Tinderholt in 2017, had its first committee hearing this week. Tinderholt’s “Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act” is meant to “protect the rights of an unborn child.”
Should the bill become law, it will mean women who get abortions can be charged with homicide, and current Texas law states that is a crime punishable by death. Doctors who perform the procedure can be charged with murder.
The bill would be enforceable regardless of the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which affirmed women’s legal right to have an abortion under the 14th Amendment.
Testimony on the bill was heard by state legislators until 3 a.m. Tuesday in the Texas House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee, Fox 5 DC reported.
“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,” the news station reported Tinderholt said at the hearing that began Monday, April 8.
“God’s word says, ‘He who sheds man’s blood, by man ― the civil government ― his blood will be shed,’” said bill supporter Sonya Gonnella, who announced herself as a “follower of the Lord Jesus Christ” before quoting the Book of Genesis, The Washington Post reported.
In total, 500 witnesses gave their testimony at the meeting, with 446 supporting the litigation.
Still, the 54-person opposition made their issues with the proposal known during the eight-hour hearing.
“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,” Democratic state Rep. Victoria Neave said.
“Murdering your citizens for a medical procedure is pretty extreme to me,” said technology CEO Caroline Caselli, who recently moved from California.
On Wednesday, Tinderholt uploaded a video to Facebook to address objections about the bill.
“My bill simply accomplishes one goal. It brings equal treatment for unborn human beings under the law,” he said in part.
The bill has been left pending in the committee and it is now set to go before the full Texas House for debate.