TX GOP Lawmaker Sponsors Bill That Would Make Abortion Punishable By Death

The “Pro-Life” party strikes again.

Texas GOP Representative Bryan Slaton filed a bill that would ban and criminalize abortions, making women and providers vulnerable to criminal charges that could carry the death penalty. The bill makes no exceptions for rape and incest, but does exempt ectopic pregnancies that threaten the life of the mother “when a reasonable alternative to save the lives of both the mother and the unborn child is unavailable.” The bill could also require people to give evidence or testify about offenses involving the death of or “bodily injury to an unborn child,” and would offer immunity to those who do.

Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

Similar measures have been filed in 2017 and 2019 by other Texas Republicans, but those each died in committee due to protests and other outside pressures. Slaton is attempting once again to legislate womens’ rights rather than support better family planning education, which would reduce the number of abortions performed in not just Texas, but across the country. Under Slaton’s bill, women who get an abortion and physicians who perform the procedure could be charged with assault or homicide, which is punishable by the death penalty in Texas. The bill also bans abortions starting at fertilization. Currently, most abortions in the state are prohibited after 20 weeks.

“It is time for Texas to protect the natural right to life for the tiniest and most innocent Texans, and this bill does just that,” Slaton said. “It’s time Republicans make it clear that we actually think abortion is murder. … Unborn children are dying at a faster rate in Texas than COVID patients, but Texas isn’t taking the abortion crisis seriously.”

Slaton doesn’t seem to see the irony in giving a death sentence to someone who chooses to have a medical procedure, but the Texas GOP isn’t exactly known for putting its constituents ahead of itself. Asked about the bill’s language and effect, Slaton said, without further explanation, that he does not think his bill would “put a single person in jail. All my bill does, is say that an unborn child is the same as a born child and should be treated the same by the laws.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has identified two abortion bills that will be priority items during the legislative session that started in January. One would ban nearly all abortions if the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision or otherwise altered abortion laws. The other has not been filed, but is expected to be a “heartbeat bill” that could bar abortions before many women know they are pregnant.


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