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Pro-Life Lawmakers in Texas Choose to Regulate Abortion Instead of Abolish It

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— The Texas Legislature sent a bill regulating the methods used to kill children and dispose of their remains to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk Friday.

Senate Bill 8 does not prohibit the murder of preborn children in general, but requires that children destroyed by abortion are dismembered by high-powered suction devices and surgical tools that do not require “the convergence of two rigid levers.” SB 8 is not a ban on abortion but a ban of a specific method of murder. The language of SB 8 explicitly affirms and allows the use of abortion methods that, “use suction to dismember the body of an unborn child by sucking pieces into a collection container.”

While SB 8 in no way seeks to criminalize abortion itself, it does purport to criminalize the sale of baby body parts and require the remains of abortion victims to be cremated or buried by those paid to destroy them.  The bill also perplexingly prohibits partial birth abortion, a procedure that has been illegal under federal law since 2007.

While journalists like Stephen Young of the Dallas Observer have referred to this bill as “the most stringent” anti-abortion bill to come out of the legislature since the passage of HB 2 in 2013, SB 8 is a bill which allows abortion, and merely focuses on what is done with the remains of abortion victims.

In sharp contrast, Rep. Tony Tinderholt in January introduced House Bill 948, the Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act, but Committee Chair Byron Cook never allowed it to be heard on the floor, despite outcry from his constituents.

HB 948 was the only bill introduced in Texas consistent with the view that preborn humans are worthy of the same protections as born humans.

Given the choice between abolishing abortion as the murder of innocent humans and regulating it as a legitimate healthcare practice, Texas pro-life legislators chose the latter—a move abolitionists predicted earlier this year.

Shortly after HB 948 was filed, abolitionist Matt Trewhella told The Liberator, “HB 948 won’t be viewed favorably by the committee, simply because the pro-life movement has given them something less to legislate. Whenever you give a politician something less to do than what is needed and necessary, they’ll take it every single time.”

Despite being billed as severe anti-abortion legislation, those who seek the actual abolition of abortion had harsh criticism regarding SB 8.

“SB 8 is pagan legislation that codifies humanistic lawlessness and further establishes injustice for the voiceless fatherless orphans in the state of Texas, who constitute 60,000 of the 1.2 million preborn Image Bearers of God murdered annually in America while God is knitting them together in the place of the Incarnation,” said Texas abolitionist Joe Salant.

“In a nutshell, all SB 8 does is allow cremating and burial of the butchered preborn orphans in lieu of selling or donating their mutilated bodies for research and mandates assassins abandon a particular method of murder,” he added. “It’s like if the German government got together and said all the Jews must go directly into the gas chambers within their first few months at the concentration camps and no Jewish skin could be used for lampshades from this point forward.”

With the passage of SB 8 and the rejection of HB 948, Texas pro-life legislators and lobbyists have declared that they are more concerned with criminalizing the sale of murdered baby body parts than they are with criminalizing the act of ripping innocent babies into parts in the first place.