Rep. Tony Tinderholt, a Republican, introduced the “Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act,” or House Bill 896, in January to “protect the rights of an unborn child” but it was granted its first committee hearing on Monday and Tuesday.
Nearly 500 people testified, with 54 people testifying against the bill, according to The Washington Post.
“A living human child, from the moment of fertilization on fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum, is entitled to the same rights, powers, and privileges as are secured or granted by the laws of this state to any other human child,” the text of the bill reads.
Republican Rep. Matt Krause, who sits on the Texas House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence, which heard the bill, said in a statement on Facebook before the hearing that it was “the first legislative hearing since 1973 on this topic.”
Tinderholt introduced a similar bill in 2017, but it failed to leave committee. He was placed under state protection because of death threats he received after proposing the bill, according to The Texas Tribune.
Tinderholt did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Democrats on the committee excoriated the bill, calling the provisions hypocritical.
“I’m trying to reconcile in my head the arguments that I heard tonight about how essentially one is OK with subjecting a woman to the death penalty … to do to her the exact same thing that one is alleging she is doing to a child,” Democratic Rep. Victoria Neave said during the hearing, according to The Washington Post.