US

Texas Democrat tries to block pro-life legislation until death penalty abolished

Alec Hill Contributor

A Democrat in the Texas House of Representatives has introduced a bill that would prevent implementation of the anti-abortion legislation that just passed in Texas until the death penalty is abolished.

Rep. Harold Dutton, who represents a section of Houston, authored H.B. 45, which would ensure that any law “that restricts access to abortion or the availability of abortion does not take effect until 60 days after … the state has abolished the use of the death penalty.”

The bill comes in the wake of the passage of Senate Bill 5, legislation in the Texas Senate that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and tightens regulations on abortion clinics throughout the state in a way that may force many to close. Gov. Rick Perry is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

S.B. 5 was the law that state Sen. Wendy Davis famously filibustered for 11 hours straight in late June, forcing Perry to call an emergency special session of the state Senate for the bill to be voted on.

Dutton offered a similar amendment on the that bill as well, offering some unclear math as justification at the time: “Twelve people can put somebody to death in this state, but now, we want one person to not be able to decide that same issue.”

Dutton’s logic in linking the issues of capital punishment and abortion is somewhat confusing, given the massive disparity in terms of human lives affected by each in Texas.

Since 1976, when the death penalty was re-legalized nationally, 500 convicted violent criminals have been executed in Texas. In 2008 alone, 84,000 women got an abortion in Texas, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute.

The legislation from Dutton is only the latest development in the debate that has raged within Texas in recent weeks over the state’s role in ending human lives.

Previously, pro-abortion advocates had ridiculed Perry’s claim that “In Texas, we value all life,” given that 261 of the state’s 500 executions have taken place during his 13 years in charge, while also screaming “Hail Satan” at demonstrations outside the capitol on the day the pro-life bill was passed.

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