Let me begin by stating that I am definitely not an advocate for abortions. But I am a pragmatist. State Representative Tony Tinderholt, (R) Arlington, has introduced Texas House Bill 896 which would allow women who obtained abortions and medical professionals who performed the procedures to be charged with capital murder. If this bill were to become law, it would lead to the death of the Texas republican Party.
But West Texans for Life considers HB 896 the number one bill this session. Jim Baxa, president of the pro-life organization, says:
“We say as pro-lifers that we believe abortion is murder and this bill allows us to prove that we believe that. If we believe that abortion is murder, we recognize that we better charge everyone involved in that crime.”
Good for Baxa. He’s standing up for his convictions. But he and his fellow West Texans for Life fail to take into account how HB 896 would affect the Texas GOP were it to become law. While it can be argued that an abortion constitutes the murder of a child, Tinderholt’s bill would be a death penalty for the Republican Party.
Let’s take a look at who is getting abortions. It’s not poor Latinos or poor blacks. And it’s not trailer trash whites. The women who are getting abortions are from the middle and upper class. And even though the Catholic Church firmly opposes abortions, many of the women who abort their children are Catholics.
The women who obtain abortions and the medical professionals who perform them are people who go to the polls and vote. Guess which party they will vote for. And that’s not all. Many of those opposed to abortions would find the law proposed by Tinderholt so abhorrent that they might vote for Democrats too.
Texas abortion laws can be strengthened, but not in a crazy way that calls for the death penalty. Should Tinderjolt’s bill become law, we would soon see all state offices occupied by Democrats, both Texas senators would be Democrats, and most Texas members of Congress would be Democrats.
Even if Gov. Abbott were crazy enough to sign Tinderholt’s crazy bill, the new law would be tied up in the courts for years.
Fortunately for the Republican Party, State Representative Jeff Leach, chairman of the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee, has announced that while he would hear any bill requested by a member of the legislature, he would not allow a bill out of committee that “targets the woman with either civil or criminal liability.”
Perhaps the State of Texas and the Republican Party would be better served if Rep. Tinderholt were to take a prolonged vacation at Spirit Rock meditation retreat.