On January 25, 2017, back on my old blog, I wrote a post about Tony Tinderholt, a creepy Texas politician who likens abortion of all kinds to murder. That post was about Tinderholt’s introduction of the Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act, a bill that would make abortion a criminal offense. Mr. Tinderholt, who is two years older than I am and has been married five times, albeit once to the same woman, explained the bill thusly:
“Right now, they don’t make it important to be personally responsible because they know that they have a backup of ‘oh, I can just go get an abortion.’ Now, we both know that consenting adults don’t always think smartly sometimes. But consenting adults need to also consider the repercussions of the sexual relationship that they’re gonna have, which is a child.”
I can see by that post that I was quite disgusted by and outraged over Mr. Tinderholt’s comments. Tinderholt claims that he believes that all abortions are criminal and would not make exceptions for cases of rape, incest, or danger to the mother’s health or life. Personally, I think he’s just a creep who wants to control women and force them to give birth. But I did eventually forget about him as other issues arose.
Two years later, Tinderholt is back in the news. Today, I read that he wants Texas lawmakers to consider the death penalty for any woman who has an abortion. He continues to insist that a developing fetus should have the same rights to personhood as any born person has. He’s introduced House Bill 896, which would criminalize abortion and classify it as homicide. Given that Texas is the biggest death penalty state in the United States, it would mean that women who had abortions could eventually be executed.
Surprisingly enough, there was enough passionate discussion about this bill to keep legislators up until 3:00am, arguing. State Representative Victoria Neave, a Democrat from Dallas, asked “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 that she is doing to a child?”
Mr. Tinderholt replied, “I think it’s important to remember that if a drunk driver kills a pregnant woman, they get charged twice. If you murder a pregnant woman, you get charged twice. So I’m not specifically criminalizing women. What I’m doing is equalizing the law.”
Um… no. Biological males cannot get pregnant; therefore, they cannot have abortions. They cannot have miscarriages or health problems caused by pregnancy that might threaten their lives. And while they can be raped and victimized by incest, that abuse directed toward males does not end in pregnancy. A woman, however, can kill a pregnant woman. Of course, statistics show that men are much more likely to commit violent acts than women are.
Pregnant women aren’t just at risk of health issues. Studies show that pregnant women are also more likely to be victims of violence than other people are. So no, I don’t agree with Tinderholt that this law he proposes is “equalizing” anything. If anything, it just makes it harder to be a woman.
I don’t disagree that many unintended pregnancies are due to irresponsible behavior. People do get careless. However, women don’t get pregnant without a man’s help. Moreover, while pregnant women are being referred to as “hosts” by some legislators, these male legislators reducing women to “host” status fail to see that if women are hosts, then their fetuses can be viewed as parasites. I don’t agree with either designation. I’m simply pointing out that there’s a disconnect in logic. When a human being or animal is infested with parasites– which usually threaten the “host’s” life or health– there’s often an attempt to rid the host of the parasite. If a woman becomes extremely ill due to her pregnancy or is pregnant, but unconscious, such as in the tragic case of Marlise Munoz, who was futilely artificially kept alive for weeks because she was pregnant, there should be a safe and legal remedy for her.
I do agree with Mr. Tinderholt that a fetus can’t help the circumstances that caused its conception. A fetus conceived in rape is just as “innocent” as a wanted fetus is. However, unless the fetus can survive outside the womb, it’s a part of the mother. She should have every right to control what happens to her body until the point at which the fetus is able to survive on its own and can safely be born. When Tinderholt can get pregnant and would be subjected to this law, I might take his views more seriously.
I shared the news about this on my Facebook page and wondered rhetorically how it is that so many stupid and/or crazy people end up in politics. Several friends replied that stupid people vote them in. I disagree. I think the best and the brightest don’t run for office, and that’s how we end up with fucking morons like Tony Tinderholt in office.
Here’s another article about Tinderholt’s latest idea that will make life for women in Texas just a little bit harder… and not in the fun way. By the way… the death penalty is extremely unfair and barbaric… and it’s about as anti-life as a punishment can get. Although I am officially a Texas resident, I sure am glad I don’t live there.
Edited to add: The bill failed, thank God!