For the first time in history, a bill that would outlaw abortion has been granted a hearing in the state of Texas.
What would the bill do?
The Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act, HB 896, was originally authored by Arlington Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R) and would issue a blanket ban on abortion, regardless of conflicting federal laws or court decisions.
It would also subject any who were involved with abortive procedures, mothers or physicians, to criminal prosecution.
Part of the bill, which seeks to grant inalienable rights to the unborn, reads as follows:
“A living human child, from the moment of fertilization on
fusionof 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.”
“From what I can tell, this is the first legislative hearing since 1973 on this topic,” said committee member Rep. Matt Kraus just before the proceedings got underway.
What has the reaction been?
Despite the tabling of such a bill being seen as a big win for the pro-life community, many are apprehensive about the consequences of allowing criminal prosecutions to take place.
Texans for Life president, Kyleen Wright, noted that her group “opposes criminalizing or penalizing women as it only protects the abortionist.”
Most pro-lifers, however, were thrilled to see so many giving testimony in support of the outlawing of abortion.
“Hundreds of abolitionists are here at the
“This is an epic hearing. The first that is being heard anywhere in our nation’s history!” he said.
Some 446 people chose to register in favor of the wide-ranging ban, which was brought to hearing by Plano Republican Rep. Jeff Leach.
“There were 446 who registered for this bill, 54 who registered against it, and 2 who were neutral. At hearing’s end 326 people spoke in favor of HB 896 – the bill to abolish abortion in Texas,” Dickson added.
Over the course of the
One of those who testified before the committee was 11-year-old Jubilee Thomas, who is the younger sister of the late Jeremiah Thomas — a 16-year-old pro-life advocate whose dying wish was to see abortion be outlawed in his beloved state of Texas.
Jubilee was among several children who testified at the hearing.
There were several pro-life organizations present at the Capitol Building to campaign and pray for change on the state’s abortion laws. “We want to see abortion treated like it actually is: the killing of an innocent human being,” Dickson told Faithwire.
Desiring to create a “culture of life” in the state of Texas, Leach said he would allow a hearing to take place on bills proposed by a member.
He did, however, stop short of saying he would allow such bills to advance to the full House.
“I cannot and will not support nor will I let come out of this committee any bill on [abortion] which targets the woman with either civil or criminal liability,” Leach said, according to Dallas News.
“Right now Chairman Leach is not treating the lives of those inside the womb as equal with those who are outside the womb,” Dickson noted of Leach’s position, noting that if he “refuses to vote to move HB 896 out of committee,” it will be “a great tragedy.”
Leach, along with 10 other Republicans, was involved in co-authoring the bill two years ago and has already advanced a separate pro-life motion to the full House which would subject any physician who failed to treat a baby born alive after an abortion to a fine of at least $100,000.
As you can imagine, the reaction from the pro-abortion side was one of fierce criticism. According to Texas Alliance for Life, an intern at NARAL even testified, to the contrary of the bill, that it was her “personal belief that abortion should be legal at 39 weeks.”
Hymns filled the Rotunda
Pro-lifers flocked to the capitol building in Austin to pray and worship. “Amazing Grace” and “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” could be heard ringing out throughout the beautiful rotunda. Others got down on their knees to pray for the abolition of abortion: