A horrific anti-abortion bill that was first proposed in 2017 but did not get a hearing was debated in the Texas state legislature this week, the Washington Post reports. The bill would criminalize abortion without exception, making it possible for women who receive abortions to be charged with homicide. Since a homicide conviction in Texas carries with it a potential death penalty, these women could possibly be sentenced to death for their procedures.
The bill, which was debated in front of the Texas House’s Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence on Monday and Tuesday, is not expected to pass given that the committee’s chairman seems reluctant to push it forward, and even some anti-abortion groups oppose it for being too severe.
Still, according to the Post, lawmakers noted on Monday that it was the first time in the state’s history that “public testimony had been heard on a measure holding women criminally liable for their abortions.”
During the hearings, 446 witnesses registered their support for the bill. Some compared abortion to genocide, and one woman argued that “we are literally missing billions of dollars in taxpayer money,” because aborted fetuses are not growing up into taxpayers.
After debate that lasted all of Monday and into Tuesday, the bill was left pending. And while this particular piece of proposed legislation is unlikely to advance, it represents the latest in a wave of terrifying anti-abortion measures and rhetoric. Recently, Republican lawmakers in Georgia have rallied behind a proposed six-week abortion ban, and in Alabama, one lawmaker proposed a bill that would make abortion at any point during a woman’s pregnancy, including in cases of rape and incest, a felony.
In Washington, D.C., meanwhile, Vice-President Pence and First Boy Donald Trump Jr. have voiced their support for an anti-abortion film called Unplanned, which experts have described as “misleading”.