In a video released by a reproductive rights group, U.S. Rep. Ron Wright says women who have abortions should “absolutely” be jailed, HuffPost reported on Thursday.
The video was released by the group Reproaction on May 30, and shows Wright, a freshman Republican congressman from Texas, responding to questions about reproductive rights, including whether he believes women who have abortions should be punished.
“Of course, because they just killed a baby,” he responds. “As far as I’m concerned, they committed murder.” After several questions, a staff members appears to cut off the interview.
In a statement to the Dallas Morning News yesterday, Wright said “nothing can mask the fact that abortion is the taking of an innocent life.” However, he tried to backtrack on his statement that women who get abortions should be jailed.
“My remarks were directed to those who perform abortions. Those who perform the abortions should be held responsible,” Wright said.
NARAL Pro-Choice Texas Executive Director Aimee Arrambide told HuffPost that Wright’s comments are “not hypothetical.”
Indeed, there was a bill proposed earlier this year in Texas that would have “banned abortion and subjected women and their doctors to the death penalty” including in cases of rape, incest, and fetal abnormalities. Draconian anti-abortion bills have also recently been passed around the country, including in Alabama, Missouri, and Louisiana.
Wright’s misogynistic views on reproductive rights have long been a subject of public record. In 2015, when he was the tax assessor collector for Tarrant County, Wright compared Planned Parenthood to Hitler.
“Hitler made the trains run on time,” he said in a speech—evidently confusing Hitler and Mussolini— as he discouraged people from donating to an organization that he claimed had ties to Planned Parenthood. “The good that’s being done doesn’t compensate for the evil that’s being done by Planned Parenthood.”