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Texas Abortion Debate: Senate Votes Today, and a Must See [Video]

StandWithTexasWomenSarahCaptureViaYouTube

Today the Texas abortion debate – or at least this chapter of it – will likely end when the Senate votes. People were standing in line well before the doors opened, in order to get as many orange (opponents) and blue (proponents) shirts in the Senate gallery as possible. The Senate will convene at 2:00 PM (Central), with the expectation that Senate Democrats will also offer multiple amendments, which will be defeated. It’s likely the session will go into the night, and certain the bill will pass. Not making the same mistake as in the first special session, this time the Senate scheduled the vote well in advance of the session’s end, so a filibuster isn’t possible. And Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has made it clear he will not allow a repeat of the fiasco his poor managing helped created, in which Wendy Davis and other Democrats ran out the clock, with the help of a loud gallery and hallway crowd. All that will likely remain after today’s vote is for lame duck / maybe WH contender Gov. Rick Perry to sign it into law.

Earlier, the House again (as in the first special legislative session) passed the bill, which would basically ban abortion after 20 weeks and, according to opponents, likely close 90% of the state’s abortion clinics. That bill passed only after House Democrats offered multiple amendments – all rejected by House Republicans – and hours of testimony, pro and con.

A recent poll, conducted by HuffPost/YouGov, reveals, unsurprisingly, that the conflict in Texas regarding abortion is far from unusual. (emphasis added throughout)

By a margin of 59 percent to 30 percent, respondents to the new poll said they would favor a federal law banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

A recent United Technologies/National Journal poll found Americans divided over the possible ban, with a
narrower plurality of 48 percent to 44 percent supporting it. …

Most of these (HuffPo) conflicted respondents (30 percent of the total) say that abortion is morally wrong (or are uncertain about its morality), but also believe that decisions on abortion should be made by a woman and her doctor, not the government.

The abortion bill battles certainly aren’t limited to Texas. For example, check out North Carolina GOP Attaches Abortion Restrictions To Motorcycle Safety Bill With No Public Notice.

Back in Texas, at Texas Tribune,

Activists will … return to the Capitol today following a few days of protests outside of Austin. After rallies this week in Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth, the ‘Stand With Texas Women’ bus tour, launched by Planned Parenthood, traveled on Thursday to San Antonio … .

Other stops include in Brownsville and McAllen, in south Texas, where driving distances to access reproductive health care will be even greater.

It will no doubt be a very long and hot day in Austin – in terms of temperature and emotion. A heavy law enforcement presence, with zero tolerance for Senate gallery disruptions, is very likely. Dewhurst thoroughly blew it in the filibuster stand-off, and he’ll certainly being doing everything he can to avoid a repeat. It’s also worth noting that the supporters of the bill have come out in greater numbers since then. The “sea of orange,” as it was called, is probably still larger, but the “lake of blue” has grown significantly.

Finally, the “must see” video. It’s one example of what can happen when you confront, by name, your state Electeds. The woman, Sarah Slamen, was among many who testified before the earlier Senate Health and Human Services Committee. As she later explained, she had a written statement she’d planned to read. After sitting and listening for hours, and especially related to how the Republican members of the Committee, including chair Sen. Jane Nelson, responded, Sarah wrote something different. Apparently speaking directly to your Electeds about what they’ve said in the last few hours is just too much for some Electeds to handle.

From The New Civil Rights Movement:

After beginning her speech calling out the lies, ‘bad science’ and ‘bad education’ Texas lawmakers have put forth on the issue of a woman’s right to choose, Sarah Slamen said she had prepared an ‘eloquent’ speech to deliver to the senators, but hearing the ‘pro-life’ witnesses before her go unreproached by the lawmakers, she couldn’t hold back.

‘Thank you! For finally working against women so publicly, and not in the shadows like you’re used to. Thank you for every single bad press conference with your bad information. Thank you for every hateful statement degrading women and girls to sex objects, and brood mares, and bald eagles, and leather wallets, like your eloquent pro-life supporters have done today.’

Sarah named names. At Burnt Orange Report

‘Let’s start down the line. Senator Campbell, you’re an ophthalmologist. So I won’t be making you the expert on reproductive health. We can give you all the children with chlamydia and herpes in their eyes, since we don’t have Sex Ed in this state.’ …

At that point Senator Nelson began talking over her and eventually calling for the next witness as troopers dragged her away.

And as she was dragged away, via New Civil Rights Movement:

‘This is a farce! … You have radicalized hundreds of thousands’ of women across Texas …

Beginning at 2:00 pm (Central) today, you can see the livestream of what the Stand With Texas Women’s group is calling the “last stand,” here. That “last stand” is in regard to this special session. Lots of talk about 2014, and what comes next from, as Sarah put it, the “radicalized” women and men. The battle to “turn Texas blue” is certainly rejuvenated, with lots more people actively engaged. As usual in politics, one huge question will be about how to keep them that way.

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2 Responses to Texas Abortion Debate: Senate Votes Today, and a Must See [Video]

  1. Cujo359 July 13, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    “The battle to “turn Texas blue” is certainly rejuvenated, with lots more people actively engaged.”

    A more useful effort, I think, would be to turn Texas progressive, or at least pro-choice (given current subject matter). Make politicians aware that they will lose their positions if they do not do what you want, and they will do it less. If they can get away with that behavior, and it won’t matter what label they’re wearing.

    “Turning Texas blue” will only ensure that things don’t get any worse. There’s clearly a lot of damage that will have to be repaired, and for that to happen, Texas politicians will need to be aware that failing to meet expectations will have consequences, too.

    I know you know this, Joyce, but for all those people who write things like “things won’t be any better if the Greens are in charge” and “you’re part of the tribe that has no tribe”, I feel like I have to repeat these things. Politicians being what they are, they will all do what works best for them. If the path of least resistance is to screw progressives, they will do that no matter what their party platform is. What I keep saying is that the relationship between progressives and “our” politicians is what has to change, as well as having more of “our” politicians. Without a change in that relationship, there won’t be any number of “our” politicians that will get us what we want.

    • Joyce Arnold July 13, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

      We’re agreed, yes.

      A part of what’s happened the last couple of weeks is a lot more people paying attention, and whatever else, the visuals were stark: Dems on one side, Repubs on the other (mostly; there were a few pro-bill Dems in the House, one in the Senate). The “turn Texas blue” thing has been gaining a bit of traction for a while now, but now has an energized moment. In fact, what I hear mostly, from those who have been paying attention for a long time, is that this is a “long run” or “long haul” effort.

      All of which begs the question of how “progressive” the rejuvenated Dem Electeds, and wannabe’s, actually are. Just as importantly will be, as you know, finding out how many of the newly “energized” will stay engaged, especially beyond the excitement and drama; and, finding out how many of the Dems / progressives will hold Dem Electeds accountable, including but beyond the abortion issue.

      I remain in my liberally independent position :)

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