This past weekend, the Texas GOP legislature approved the most radical abortion restrictions in the country, which has inspired weeks of protests with Sen. Wendy Davis’ (D) dramatic 13-hour filibuster at the forefront.
With the Democratic minority unable to prevent the bill’s passing in a second special session, a few proposals have been utilized to counter the GOP push for strict regulations.
State Representative Harold Dutton Jr. (D) has introduced HB 45, which would block Texas from enforcing any of its new anti-abortion legislation unless it abolishes the state’s 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 the 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 the final conviction of a criminal offense.
In late June, Texas executed its 500th person. The state leads the U.S. in executions and contributes to one third of the total number of prisoners executed in the country in the past several years.
Since Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1977, over half of the executions that have taken place have been under GOP governor Rick Perry’s leadership.