Perform an Illegal Abortion, Go to Death Row! They don’t play in Texas!

Texas Governor Rick Perry recently signed legislation requiring abortions providers to obtain parental consent prior to performing abortions on minor children. This measure coupled with a change in the legal definition of an “individual ” in the homicide statute two years ago, could result in a cases involving doctors who perform illegal abortions being prosecuted as capitol murder cases.

The Waco Tribune Herald reports:

Doctors who perform illegal abortions in Texas could be prosecuted for capital murder and face a death sentence under recent changes in Texas law that have resulted in apparent unintended consequences.

While officials familiar with the new legislation say such prosecutions are unlikely, the possibility of a doctor on death row, whether intentional or not, puts a sharp focus on the importance of analyzing legislative activity every two years, officials say.

Prior to 2003 the definition of an “individual” in homicide statutes was “a human being who has been born and is alive.” Now it means “a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation, from fertilization until birth.

Needless to say there was a lot of debate surrounding abortion. And as a result a deal was struck exempting legal abortions from being subject to the homicide statutes. But illegal abortions were not exempted. For example, if a doctor performs an abortion on a 12 year old child without her parent’s permission, that doctor not only guilty of a crime, but could also face the death penalty.

I don’t know if this was intentional or not. But it will definitely make doctors think twice before performing abortions. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Craig DeLuz

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