Oklahoma man arrested for allegedly sending death threats to pro-life Texas lawmakers

A mugshot of 20-year-old Austin Wendell Lund of Oklahoma, who was arrested on Sept. 22, 2021, for allegedly sending death threats to Texas lawmakers who supported the fetal heartbeat abortion law. | Payne County Sheriff's Office

A 20-year-old man from Oklahoma was recently arrested for sending death threats to Texas legislators who supported the state's controversial fetal heartbeat abortion law.

Austin Wendell Lund was booked last week by Payne County authorities and faces charges including instigating a terrorism hoax and threatening to perform an act of violence.

Lund allegedly threatened 101 Texas lawmakers, stating on a series of Reddit posts that he was "filled with rage at the Texas abortion law passing." Senate Bill 8, also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act, bans most abortions after a baby's heartbeat is detected, usually around six weeks into pregnancy.

"You are not people to me and if I get the chance I plan to play out my sickest fantasies with your bodies, I fully intend to," Lund allegedly posted, as reported by KOTV of Tulsa, Okla.

Democratic state Rep. Ana Maria Ramos of Dallas, a Texas lawmaker who voted against the heartbeat abortion ban, denounced the death threats against her pro-life colleagues.

"It's never OK," stated Ramos, as reported by local outlet CBS DFW last Friday. "And it's scary for all of us, because these are my colleagues."

"These are human beings, that people on the House floor and in [the] legislature, people have also [been] sacrificing their time to fight for what they feel is best for our country. So, so it's never OK."

Republican state Rep. Matt Shaheen of Plano, a legislator who supported the heartbeat law and was among those threatened, said that getting a death threat was not news, per se.

"You're alarmed at first, but quite frankly, every once in a while, we receive these types of threats," continued Shaheen, as reported by CBS DFW.

Shaheen also defended his support for Senate Bill 8.

"It's really, really simple to me," he said. "If there's a little baby with a heartbeat, it deserves to live. The Declaration of Independence says we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights and among those are life. So that little baby is a little life."

Senate Bill 8 went into effect on Sept. 1, after the U.S. Supreme Court denied the request of abortion providers and advocacy groups to block the law's implementation. The new law allows private citizens to sue anyone who performs illegal abortions or helps a woman obtain an illegal abortion.

The law has garnered much backlash, including a lawsuit by the Biden administration and the publication of a statement signed by more than 50 companies condemning the measure. Notable signatories include Lyft, Yelp and Ben & Jerry's. 

Although the law has received intense opposition from pro-abortion groups and the Biden administration, the American public is evenly divided in its views on Senate Bill 8.

A Rasmussen poll conducted shortly after its passage found that a plurality of Americans (46%) support the law while 43% oppose it. At the same time, 46% of Americans said they approved of President Joe Biden's vow to launch a "whole-of-government effort ... to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions."

The threats against the Texas lawmakers come after the pro-life group Texas Right to Life received a bomb threat at it's headquarters in the Houston suburb of Bellaire earlier this month. Police ordered the evacuation of the facility when a suspicious package was delivered.

While the package ultimately did not include an explosive device, the Bellaire Police Department noted in a statement that it's investigating the incident as a "terroristic threat," which is punishable with a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail.

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