Access to reproductive healthcare and rights has been increasingly under fire since President-elect Donald Trump’s 2016 election victory. In the two months since the election, federal and state lawmakers across the country have introduced aggressive anti-abortion bills.
The Texas GOP opened its new session in mid-November with a bill that would force people to bury or cremate fetal remains. On Wednesday, legislators took the war on reproductive rights a step further.
Republican Rep. Tony Tinderholt introduced a bill titled “Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act,” which would both ban and criminalize the procedure altogether by making abortion — and the provision of the procedure — a felony.
The bill recognizes “the rights, powers, and privileges of all unborn children at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth,” and categorizes the fetus as a “living human child.”
In turn, abortion would be treated as a criminal homicide, except in cases where the individual’s life is at risk due to complications during pregnancy. This also means that anyone who has an abortion or provides the procedure could face felony charges and lose their right to vote.
The proposed bill would be at odds with the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling and seems unlikely to pass. University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson told the Texas Observer, “This is a latter-day attempt at nullification of federal law or Supreme Court decisions, and it’s not going to work. Period.”
Levinson added, “There is simply no doubt whatsoever that it is unconstitutional under current law.” However, that it was introduced in the first place is telling of the fight ahead for basic reproductive rights and the Texas GOP has made their platform very clear.
In their agenda for the new session, the Republican Party of Texas stated that abolishing abortion and “stopping the murder of unborn children” are among their priorities.
Legislators and organizations advocating for reproductive freedom are bracing themselves for the work ahead under the Trump administration. There are already at least 46 anti-abortion bills facing state legislatures at this time.