The state House has approved measures that would make it a crime to threaten or coerce a woman to have an abortion.
The measures would cover threats of physical violence, but also withdrawing housing or financial support if a woman does not end a pregnancy.
"When a woman or a young girl is threatened of losing a lifeline, whether it's shelter, financial support, or even a brief period of calm between incidents of emotional or physical abuse, let's be clear, that is extortion," says Republican state Representative Bruce Rendon.
But Democratic state Representative Vicki Barnett says the effort is not sincere if it does not protect all women from threats and coercion. She says women are also threatened and assaulted by abusive partners or family members because they want to end a pregnancy.
"Why don't we instead direct our efforts to deal with all acts of violence in families whether or not someone is pregnant - to protect all women, all children, all seniors from violence in the home," she says. "Maybe then we would be talking about moving this state forward."
Barnett says the legislation is poorly written and unconstitutional because it uses the non-clinical term "unborn baby" among its definitions.
The package now goes to the state Senate.