A Republican pro-life politician has axed a bill that would abolish, and criminalize, abortion in the state of Texas. In a move that has outraged many of the pro-life community, Republican House Committee Chairman Jeff Leach decided to shelve the Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act, because it “subjects women who undergo abortions to criminal liability.”
The bill, HB 896 was debated late into the night Monday. Over the lengthy hearing, which took place at the Texas capitol, numerous testimonies were delivered both in favor and against the wide-ranging ban.
Pro-life community split over criminalization
Originally authored by Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R) some two years ago, the bill has split the pro-life community, with many believing that the life of an unborn child should equate to that of an adult — and thus, anyone involved in the ending of a young life should face murder charges.
Indeed, the bill, which seeks to endow unborn children with the same inalienable rights as adults, reads as follows:
“A living human child, from the moment of fertilization on fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum, is entitled to the same rights, powers, and privileges as are secured or granted by the laws of this state to any other human child.”
Thus, those who violate these rights and kill a child, would be subject to the same penal codes that govern the ending of human life in any other circumstance.
“There is a lot of misinformation being spread about HB 896, and I would like to clear up some of the confusion,” Rep. Tinderholt posted on Facebook Wednesday. “My bill simply accomplishes one goal. It brings equal treatment for unborn human beings under the law.”
The politicians also cleared up some confusion on the legal parameters surrounding incidents of miscarriage or concerns over contraception issues.
“Abortion does not include contraceptives, miscarriage, or removal of an ectopic pregnancy,” he wrote. “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.”
Pastor Mark Dickson, the director of Right to Life of East Texas, told Faithwire that, by holding his current position, chairman Leach was “not treating the lives of those inside the womb as equal with those who are outside the womb,” and that this was “a great tragedy.”
However, others disagreed. Texans for Life president, Kyleen Wright, noting that her group “opposes criminalizing or penalizing women as it only protects the abortionist.”
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