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Texas Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Block Abortion Restrictions Until The Death Penalty Is Abolished

By Tara Culp-Ressler on July 16, 2013 at 4:18 pm

"Texas Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Block Abortion Restrictions Until The Death Penalty Is Abolished"

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State Rep. Harold Dutton Jr. (D) (Credit: Texas Moratorium Network)

Over the weekend, the GOP-controlled Texas legislature approved a contentious anti-abortion bill that has inspired weeks of protest during two special legislative sessions. At the end of last month, state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) attempted to block the legislation with a dramatic 13-hour filibuster — but the Democratic minority was ultimately unable to prevent the measure from passing in a second special session.

That doesn’t mean pro-choice legislators in the state have totally given up, however. As their Republican colleagues have taken advantage of the current special session to introduce a rush of anti-abortion bills, Democratic lawmakers have countered with a few proposals of their own.

State Rep. Harold Dutton, Jr. (D) has introduced HB 45, which would prevent Texas from enforcing any of the abortion restrictions passed during this year’s special session until 60 days after Texas abolishes the death penalty:

LIMITATION ON ADDITIONAL ABORTION RESTRICTIONS. Notwithstanding any other law, a law enacted on or after June 1, 2013, that restricts access to abortion or the availability of abortion does not take effect until 60 days after publication in the Texas Register of a finding of fact made by the attorney general that the state has abolished the use of the death penalty as a punishment available on final conviction of a criminal offense.

At the end of June — right before the extra lawmaking sessions began — Texas executed its 500th person. The state has led the country in death penalty executions, contributing to one-third of the total number of Death Row inmates executed in the United States over the past several years.

“In Texas, we’re going to support protecting life,” Perry recently said in reference to his commitment to enacting the harsh abortion restrictions. But that sentiment may not apply to all lives in the Lone Star State. 261 executions, over half of the total number of since Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1977, took place under Perry’s leadership.

(HT: Mother Jones)

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