Republican Texas state Rep. Tony Tinderholt and his family are under protection from the Texas Department of Public Safety after abortion advocates issued multiple death threats against them. Tinderholt’s offense? He filed a bill to abolish abortions in the state of Texas.
On January 11, Tinderholt filed House Bill 948, also known as the Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act. Currently, the Texas Penal Code provides that those responsible for the death of an unborn child are guilty of murder, except in cases of abortion. Tinderholt’s bill seeks to remove the exception for abortion, which means women and abortion providers would face potential felony charges for procuring or performing an abortion.
Tinderholt spoke to TheBlaze in an exclusive interview, saying that he and his family have received death threats, including threats toward his 7-month old daughter.
Tinderholt would not go into detail about the threats because they are still being investigated by law enforcement, he told TheBlaze that he has been attacked in a way he has never seen before. “My worry is my family,” Tinderholt said. He added that he has received death threats from those he’d least expect— from married women with young children to men boasting to him that their young daughters have cursed his name. Tinderholt described the attacks as, “nonstop, aggressive, vulgar, and vile.”
In spite of the threats, Tinderholt intends to continue fighting for his bill.
“All of this vulgarity and violent threats have just strengthened my resolve and my family’s resolve that we’re doing the right thing,” Tinderholt added. “I’m not pulling this bill.”
He said he wasn’t sure how much longer he’d have to remain under DPS protection, but that he’d wait it out as long as it takes.
The state of Texas is no stranger to controversy when it comes to abortion laws. In June of 2016, the United States Supreme Court struck down key provisions of HB 2, a Texas state law that required abortion facilities to meet the requirements of an ambulatory surgical center and ensured that doctors performing the procedures had hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of their clinic.
“We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes,” Justice Stephen Breyer said, writing for the court’s majority. “Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access... and each violates the Federal Constitution.”
Texas HB 948 has not yet gone through a committee to get to the House floor.
“I don’t understand being pro-choice, but I respect others’ ability to have those views and ask that they do the same for me,” Tinderholt told TheBlaze. “These people are threatening to murder me so they can continue to murder children, which is very telling.”