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Texas Bill Would Sentence Women To Death For Getting Abortions

Texas Bill Would Sentence Women To Death For Getting Abortions

A proposed bill that passed the Judiciary Committee of the Texas House of Representatives this week would criminalize abortion in the state, with the potential of sentencing women who were found guilty of terminating their pregnancies to the death penalty.

Photo by Michele Tantussi/Getty Images

House Bill 896 faced fierce opposition from Democratic lawmakers in the committee, who pointed out the blatant hypocrisy of sentencing women to death for a crime Republicans considered to be tantamount to murder themselves.

“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 that she is doing to a child?” Rep. Victoria Neave, a Democrat from Dallas, asked, according to reporting from MyStateLine.com.

Republicans defended their bill by saying the proposal “equalized” current laws. “If you murder a pregnant woman, you get charged twice” under Texas statutes, pointed out Rep. Tony Tinderholt, a Republican.

The bill, which passed the Judiciary Committee, now goes to the full House for consideration.

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If the bill did indeed become law, it would likely be challenged in federal court as being unconstitutional, as it would be in direct violation of the 1973 Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion and protected a woman’s right to obtain one in every state of the Union.

Judicial review of Roe may very well be the intention of lawmakers proposing the bill, as it is for politicians in other states — indeed, a similar law proposed in Alabama, previously reported on at HillReporter.com, seeks to punish those seeking abortions with prison sentences up to 99 years.

When asked whether her bill criminalizing abortion would hold up under judicial scrutiny, Alabama Rep. Terri Collins said she was hopeful it would be appealed, eventually making it all the way to the Supreme Court. The potential to overturn Roe, she said, was the “whole point” of the bill.

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