25 June 2013

 Tonight, I’m saluting Texas state senator Wendy Davis, who filibustered for 13 hours in the Texas State Senate today to try to stop a vote that passed such stringent restrictions on abortion clinics that it is expected to shut down every abortion clinic in the state, according to CBS News. The measure is now expected to be signed into law.

In her pink tennis shoes, Davis, a teenage mom who then went to Harvard Law School, stood for 13 hours, reading statements from doctors and women who weren’t allowed to testify in the hearings. 

As the CBS News story says, Texas has 26 million people. It’s a very big state. The result of the law, if signed, is that a woman who decides to have an abortion will have to drive hundreds of miles to another state or have an illegal abortion. The law forces clinics to upgrade to ambulatory surgical centers, while clinics that perform such procedures as vasectomies or colonoscopies aren’t held to the same upgrade. Most of the clinics won’t have the money to perform the upgrade and will have to close. Plus, any doctor performing abortions must now have admitting privileges at a hospital no further than 30 miles away. Given how big Texas is, the bill de facto eliminates a number of doctors from being able to perform the procedure. 

What seems to get lost in the conservative wave to overturn Roe V. Wade is that no one is pro-abortion. It’s a last resort. But if someone feels that is her only alternative, then at least make it a safe resort.  And the part that really bothers me is the same lawmakers who are often so vehemently fighting to ban abortion are the same ones who are rushing to cut funding for children in poverty. It’s as if as soon as the child is delivered, they no longer care about its welfare.

I don’t know if there are any exceptions here for rape or incest victims, but I imagine not since this measure has to do with the clinics, not any of the actual circumstances surrounding the reason for the abortion. 

There also seems to be a lot of misinformation floating around Texas, some of it coming from the bill’s sponsor, Jodie Laubenberg, who suggested that a woman could use an emergency room rape kit to end a pregnancy. If you’re going to propose a law, maybe it’s best if you actually have your facts straight about what you’re proposing.

In honor of Davis’s fight, tonight’s $10 goes to Planned Parenthood Action Fund. If you go to the site, it has a great run down on various states’ actions. Plus, PP has coins its own term for a politician who feels he or she is more qualified to make a decision about a women’s body than the woman or her doctor: that politician is a Gynotician. I guess Laubenberg is a Gynotician...and a very ill-informed one at that.

(UPDATE: As I wrote this late Wednesday night, new organizations were reporting that the bill had passed. When I work up on Thursday morning, the news had been updated and changed overnight. The vote came three minutes too late and, therefore, the state bill was killed. It will likely resurface again, but in the meantime, news outlets are reporting that someone initially tampered with the official state documents to make it look like the votes happened before midnight... stay tuned).

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