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Texas Republicans' New Bill Would Mean Women Who Have an Abortion Could Get the Death Penalty

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The landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, guaranteeing a woman's right to choose whether or not to give birth, has remained the law of the land for decades, but crusades against the right to a safe and legal abortion continue to threaten it.

Republican state legislators in Texas continued that tradition in an emotional two-day hearing this week on a bill introduced by Republican State Representative Tony Tinderholt.


House Bill 896 would classify abortion as homicide, without exception, subsequently subjecting women to all of the judicial punishments for homicide—including the death penalty.

Tinderholt said:

“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.”

Tinderholt previously introduced the bill in 2017, claiming that access to abortion encourages women to stop being "personally responsible" for their sex lives.

Democratic State Representative Victoria Neave spoke against H.B. 896:

"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."

Many others found Tinderholt's position paradoxical as well as barbaric.

Many saw parallels between the hearing in Texas and a certain popular television series.

Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, in which fertile women are forced to give birth—and any intent to terminate a pregnancy is punished with death.

The bill has a long way to go before ratification, but it's alarmingly indicative of the lengths some are willing to go to revoke a woman's right to choose.