Target: State Representative Harold Dutton Jr.
Goal: Commend State Rep. Harold Dutton Jr. for standing against abortion restriction bills and support his clever death penalty legislation
While many Texans are silently hanging their heads in response to the numerous abortion restriction bills that have recently passed in the state, Rep. Harold Dutton Jr. decided to highlight Republican hypocrisy with a bill of his own. According to his legislation, new abortion laws would not go into effect until 60 days after the state of Texas outlaws the death penalty. In the past, his measure has seen little success or support from Conservatives, but it serves as a sharp reminder to them that the term “pro-life” is a narrow one. Commend this representative for his bold decision to reintroduce this bill at this time.
Because Texas continues to pass legislation limiting reproductive rights for women, the topic of women’s health has been the source of media hype for the past few months. In response to the anti-choice legislation, many opponents of the bills have fought back with filibusters and other measures that attempt to reverse harmful laws that limit women, especially the underprivileged who are most egregiously affected by them. But Dutton Jr. intended for his bill to do something different. It is almost guaranteed not to pass by Republican-controlled Legislature, but it is a painful reminder to pro-life proponents of an anti-choice America that life is often undervalued in Texas.
Governor Rick Perry, who recently keynoted the National Right to Life convention, presided over the state’s 500th execution since the practice was reinstated in 1982. Sadly, those who consider themselves pro-life frequently support the death penalty.
The reintroduced bill highlights this incongruity and may even convince a few moderate conservatives that it makes little sense to undermine women’s rights and livelihood and endorse the death of criminals while simultaneously lobbying to end abortion. The gap of senselessness widens with the truth that illegal abortions do not reduce abortion, but only make them unsafe for women. Those with a pro-life agenda should support contraception that reduces unwanted pregnancies, Medicaid that offers low-income families support for child rearing, and all forms of life-saving commodities that local planned parenthood clinics offer to women and children.
Being pro-birth is not the same as being pro-life, and Rep. Harold Dutton Jr. understands this. Commend him for his attempt to wake up members of the Republican party in the state of Texas.
Dear State Representative Harold Dutton Jr.
Recently, you reintroduced a bill that would prevent new abortion laws from going into effect in Texas until the state additionally outlaws the death penalty. While the Republican-controlled Legislature will undoubtedly scoff at your measure, I believe it may send an important message to a few elected officials who are seriously contemplating the effects of reproductive restrictions in your state.
Being pro-life should mean more than valuing the lives of the unborn. It should encompass a respect for life at all stages, and your bill highlights the incongruity of Republicans who lobby against abortion while supporting the death penalty. This measure will not convince those who believe their extreme positions are correct, but it may cause moderate Conservatives to reassess an inconsistent position on abortion and capital punishment. Though your bill is not likely to pass, it is likely to provoke thought among a few, and I thank you for your activism in support of reproductive rights.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Flickr