[I]n hospital emergency rooms, we have funded what’s called rape kits that will help the woman, basically clean her out. And then hopefully that will alleviate that.” – Rep. Jodie Laubenberg
WHAT WILL happen in Texas today after Rep. Jodie Laubenberg caused huge protests and squeals of outrage over her outlandish statement directed at victims of rape? Texas legislators have until midnight tonight to pass an anti-abortion bill that will make it basically impossible to get a legal procedure of abortion in West, Texas.
That’s why we’re rooting for Senator Wendy David and Democrats, who are planning a marathon filibuster against the anti-abortion bill, hoping to stop the vote, which must be held today due to rules of the Legislature.
“We want to do whatever we can for women in this state,” said Sen. Kirk Watson of Austin, leader of the Senate Democrats.
The bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and force many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities and be classified as ambulatory surgical centers. Also, doctors would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles — a tall order in rural communities.
Although Texas is just the latest of several conservative states to try to enact tough limits on abortions, the scope of its effort is notable because of the combination of bills being considered and the size of the state.
When combined in a state 773 miles wide and 790 miles long and with 26 million people, the measures would become the most stringent set of laws to impact the largest number of people in the nation.
A reported 800 people turned out in Texas yesterday for the legislature’s debate on anti-abortion bills that could close 37 of the 42 women’s clinics in the state. The House debate lasted 15 hours, and the vote happened around 3:25 this morning.
With Republicans in firm control of the chamber and united behind the bill, the outcome was not really in doubt. But as we have seen in Virginia, Wisconsin and Ohio — to name a few — the minority Democrats managed to get the bill’s Republican supporters on record about their explicit belief that government has the right to control women’s private medical needs and their understanding about what, in practice, that means.
Reports out of Texas also reveal that if Democrats succeed in standing up for women, Republicans in that state hope Gov. Rick Perry will bring the legislators back for as many special sessions as are needed to succeed in the war on women now raging in Texas. Making a legal reproductive procedure like abortion unavailable, including for victims of rape or incest, in large parts of rural Texas.
Picture at the top is from Maddow blog, who received it from Marina Bingham.