Conservative Texans of men and women, native and immigrant, and young and old alike begged lawmakers to stop what they called a “genocide” that will eventually bring “God’s wrath.”
The expression of faith they wish to show God is the passage of a bill that would criminalize all abortions. It would make it possible for women who receive the procedures to be charged for homicide—a crime punishable by death in Texas. And although the chances of it passing are very slim, the bill received a hearing this week and is representative of the larger conservative effort to suppress abortion rights and challenge Roe v. Wade in Republican-dominated states, Washington Post reports.
State Representative and Republican Tony Tinderholt from Arlington, Texas was the architect of the bill, which he first introduced in 2017.Tinderholt, an Air Force veteran who has been married five times, argues that the bill needed because it makes women “more personally responsible.” On Tuesday, he said he intends to guarantee “equal protection” for life both inside and “outside the womb.”
But some of his supporters see the bill in a more religious light.
“God’s word says, ‘He who sheds man’s blood, by man—the civil government—his blood will be shed,’” said Sonya Gonnella, quoting the Book of Genesis. She pleaded lawmakers to “repent with us.”
Gonnella was one of the hundreds of individuals gathered to testify during a marathon hearing from Monday to early Tuesday in front of the Texas House’s Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence. She proclaimed herself a “follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The legislation was left on hold on Tuesday, and Democrats pointed out a contradiction in the supporters’ self-identified “pro-life” agenda.
“I’m trying to reconcile in my head the arguments that I heard tonight about how essentially one is okay with subjecting a woman to the death penalty for the exact — to do to her the exact same thing that one is alleging she is doing to a child,” said state Representative and Democrat Victoria Neave.