The Dallas Morning News

REP. JEFF LEACH ,inaustin for the legislativ­e session, was alerted to security concerns back home.

Collin officials say steps taken for legislator who opposes abortion ban

- By W. GARDNER SELBY Austin Bureau Twitter: @gardnersel­by

AUSTIN — A Dallasarea Texas House member who has bottled up a legally improbable abortion ban measure was alerted to security concerns back home Wednesday night, the Collin County Sheriff ’s Office said Thursday.

In Austin for the legislativ­e session, Republican Rep. Jeff Leach, whose wife and three children have been home in Plano, declined to comment.

Lt. Nick Bristow of the sheriff ’s office said authoritie­s brought security concerns to Leach’s attention overnight based on “social media chatter we’ve seen online.”

“We’re taking appropriat­e measures to address” the concerns, Bristow said.

Bristow did not elaborate on the posts that raised concerns, and said it wouldn’t be prudent to describe security measures the department has taken.

Leach heads a House panel that took testimony this week on the bill by Rep. Tony Tinderholt, Rarlington.

The bill would classify abortions as homicides, banning the procedure regardless of contrary federal laws or court decisions, and subject mothers and physicians involved in abortions to criminal penalties. Although Leach was a coauthor of the legislatio­n in the 2017 legislativ­e session, he has announced he won’t let any measures threatenin­g to women’s health advance.

“I cannot and will not support nor will I let come out of this committee any bill on ... [abortion] which targets the woman with either civil or criminal liability,” Leach said.

He said he won’t support legislatio­n that punishes a woman who is “facing that difficult decision and who might make that decision.”

Tinderholt’s legislatio­n now has seven sponsors, including Tinderholt, records show. That’s down from a dozen who were in place before this week.

The Texas Alliance for Life, one of two antiaborti­on groups that oppose Tinderholt’s plan, saluted Leach on Twitter on Thursday for reaffirmin­g his decision not to help the legislatio­n advance.

Two years ago, a Tinderholt adviser revealed that Tinderholt had Department of Public Safety protection after receiving death threats.

Tinderholt said Thursday that the DPS had been at his Arlington home that day.

“We’ve had some threats,” he said. He expressed disappoint­ment at any attacks on Leach, who granted Tinderholt’s request for a hearing on his measure.

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