A pro-life Texas state lawmaker and his family are under state protection after receiving multiple death threats related to his bill to ban abortions, the Dallas News reports.
Texas state Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, and his family are being protected by the Texas Department of Public Safety, and received additional help from the Arlington Police Department and Tarrant County sheriff’s office, Micah Cavanaugh, Tinderholt’s chief of staff, said in a statement Monday.
His political consultant Luke Macias said law enforcement also is investigating the multiple death threats against Tinderholt and his family.
“Representative Tinderholt and his family have received multiple death threats leading to his family being placed under DPS protection on multiple occasions,” Cavanaugh said, according to the Texas Tribune. “Specifics to the threats cannot be discussed due to an ongoing investigation, and we do not intend to speak on behalf of law enforcement.”
They said the threats began earlier this month after Tinderholt introduced Texas House Bill 948, or “Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act,” which would amend the state code to say that a child’s life begins at “the moment of fertilization.” It also would remove exceptions for abortion from the state penal code on criminal homicide, and allow abortion practitioners and women to be charged with murder. The bill includes an exception to allow an abortion if the mother’s life is in jeopardy.
“I’m pretty passionate about the pro-life movement,” Tinderholt said when he introduced the bill. “When you read and see how abortions are performed, and how they end the life of an innocent child, it amazes me that we allow that.
“When we look back over history and we see … the cultures that took the lives of children, people are appalled by that,” he continued. “People are going to do that with America, too, and look back one day and say they can’t believe we allowed this.”
Abortion activists in Texas quickly attacked the bill as the “most extreme measure” in the state legislature this year. Because of the current make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, the measure likely would be overturned. In 2012, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down a similar personhood bill as unconstitutional because it recognized unborn babies as human beings with a right to life.
Pro-lifers and their projects increasingly have become targets of violence, as well as babies in the womb. In late 2015, a Missouri pro-life lawmaker also received a death threat while he led an investigation into the abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
Sometimes the violence has been directed toward pro-life organizations’ buildings or displays. In November, the FBI began investigating whether a hate crime occurred when a suspected arson destroyed a pro-life pregnancy center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Then in December, a Christian pro-life organization in Australia was damaged by an explosion in what pro-lifers believe was a “targeted attack,” the BBC reports. Australian Capital Territory Police said a 35-year-old man parked a van filled with bottles of gas right outside the Australia Christian Lobby headquarters in Canberra and lit them, causing an explosion that damaged the building, ABC Australia reports.
Other times the violence has been directed toward pro-lifers themselves. In one incident, an Ohio pro-life group caught an alleged assault against its volunteers on film last May. The video showed an angry man yelling at a group of young pro-lifers and then grabbing one pro-lifer’s camera.
In January 2016, pro-life sidewalk counselors in Arizona also were targeted by a man and his teenage children in a drive-by incident where they used squirt guns to spray the pro-lifers with an unknown substance. Police later filed charges against him and his teenage children, including disorderly conduct and assault.
And in 2014, a pro-abortion feminist studies professor at the University of California Santa Barbara was punished for attacking a young pro-life activist, stealing and destroying her sign and encouraging a group of students to be violent, LifeNews reported. The professor later was fined and sentenced to three years probation and anger management.