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Abortion in Texas is not punishable by death

May 14, 2019 GMT

CLAIM: A woman who is raped and seeks an abortion in Texas could be put to death.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Women cannot be put to death in Texas for seeking an abortion, although one lawmaker has proposed legislation that would criminalize the procedure.

THE FACTS: The inaccurate claim began appearing on Facebook posts after a bill that would have made abortion a capital murder offense failed to move forward in the Texas legislature earlier this year.

Women can still legally undergo an abortion in Texas up until 20 weeks of pregnancy. After that point, abortions are banned except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk or the fetus has a severe medical abnormality. 

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“The way the law stands currently in Texas there are no criminal penalties for women who have abortions,” said Drucilla Tigner, a reproductive rights strategist for the ACLU of Texas.

The posts set up a hypothetical situation: “A woman is raped and impregnated by her rapist. She seeks an abortion to end her unwanted pregnancy. Her government puts her to death, but not her rapist. Sharia law in some Islamic country? Nope. Texas.”

Republican Rep. Tony Tinderholt introduced a bill in January that establishes criminal penalties for women who get an abortion or health care providers who perform the procedure. The bill would have allowed women who obtain an abortion to be charged with capital murder, which carries a maximum sentence of the death penalty in Texas. 

The legislation faced stiff opposition, even from some of the state’s anti-abortion groups. Texas Republican Rep. Jeff Leach announced last month he would not allow it to move out of his House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.