Texas Bill Would Make Abortion a Felony

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During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump at one point said that women ought to be punished for getting abortions. He backpedaled a bit after that and said he didn’t mean that women should be punished–polls indicate that most people are not in favor of criminal charges for women who get abortions–but a lawmaker in Texas has decided that in Donald Trump’s America there’s no reason to backpedal, and he’s proposed a new bill that would make abortion a felony in Texas.

According to The Texas Observer, Texas state representative Tony Tinderholt on Wednesday filed the “Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act,” and this one deviates from traditional anti-abortion legislation in that it doesn’t even pretend to be about women’s health or safety. Previous efforts to use “women’s health” to justify closing Planned Parenthood clinics and forcing women through ultrasounds and waiting periods never sounded true or logical, but Tinderholt has just thrown all pretense aside and is outright saying that women should be charged with murder for terminating pregnancies, and so should the doctors who perform abortions.

The bill offers exceptions only when the mother’s life is at risk, not in the case of rape, incest, or severe fetal abnormality. It says Texas state officials should just ignore “any conflicting federal laws” and treat abortion as criminal homicide.

Tinderholt told The Observer that the point of the bill is to “force” women to be “more personally responsible with sex.”

“Right now, it’s real easy. Right now, they don’t make it important to be personally responsible because they know that they have a backup of ‘oh, I can just go get an abortion.’ Now, we both know that consenting adults don’t always think smartly sometimes. But consenting adults need to also consider the repercussions of the sexual relationship that they’re gonna have, which is a child,” Tinderholt said.

Tinderholt says “consenting adults,” but there is of course no mention of consequences for the men involved in these situations. He also says “consenting adults,” but the bill makes no concessions for rape or incest, so consent really doesn’t come into play at all.

The lack of exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest are not an accident, either. Tinderholt left it that way on purpose.

Weirdly, Tinderholt told The Observer that his bill would not abolish abortion, despite the fact that he named it the “Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act.”

“I’m not saying, I’ve never said, and the bill doesn’t say that abortion will be abolished and illegal,” he said to the Observer. “We call it that bill, but the bottom line is this: we’re just changing criminal penal code and statutes.”

Tinderholt’s bill still just a bill, and there’s no telling what his fellow lawmakers will do with it. It’s overtly unconstitutional at the moment, but Tinderholt and other anti-abortion lawmakers seem to be counting on a changing political climate and a changing Supreme Court to let them pass laws that would never have gotten through in other years.