Representative Ron Wright, who was elected in 2018, responds to questions about whether or not women who induce their own abortions should be punished with jail in a video released by abortion access advocacy group Reproaction.
The politician says: “Of course, because they just killed a baby”.
When the interviewer asks if he is concerned women could be sent to prison for having abortions, he says: “As far as I’m concerned, they committed murder”.
This comes after Texas proposed a law that would criminalise abortions and make it possible for women to receive the death penalty for having an abortion.
The legislation, which would criminalise both women who have abortions and doctors who carry them out, stipulates that state and local government officials should enforce the bill “regardless of any contrary federal law, executive order, or court decision”.
It would allow no exceptions for abortions in cases of rape, incest or when the health of the mother is at risk. But the bill appeared to have failed back in April and is currently pending in committee.
Texas anti-abortion legislators filed almost 40 bills – legislation that would breach the constitutionally protected rights to safe, legal abortion care – during the state’s most recent legislative session, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Drucilla Tigner, of ACLU Texas, said: “These breadcrumb anti-abortion bills are no random coincidence; they are part of a concerted and strategic effort to stigmatise and delegitimise reproductive healthcare with the ultimate goal of outlawing abortion outright at the federal level”.
Mr Wright’s comments come in the wake of growing numbers of US states introducing bills that attempt to ban women from having abortions – with legislation to restrict abortion rights having been introduced in 16 states this year.
A new law mandating a near total ban on abortion was signed into law by the governor in Alabama last month. Under the law, doctors would face 10 years in prison for attempting to terminate a pregnancy and 99 years for carrying out the procedure.
The abortion ban, which has been branded a “death sentence for women”, would even criminalise performing abortions in cases of rape and incest. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said the new law might be “unenforceable” due to Roe v Wade - the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalised abortion nationwide in 1973 - but said the new law was passed with the aim of challenging that decision.
Anti-abortion activists hope legislation banning abortion being introduced across America will ultimately cause the US Supreme Court to reverse Roe vs Wade. Abortion rights campaigners have raised concerns the new conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – both Trump appointees – sitting on the court could tip the balance against abortion rights.