Why Everyone Should Be Keeping an Eye on Texas

Guys, last week those in favor of marriage equality had a HUGE victory in the form of DOMA being struck down by the Supreme Court, and I don’t have to tell those who follow this blog that I was pretty ecstatic.  But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

Last Tuesday, feminists found a rallying point in Wendy Davis, a Texas state senator who fillibustered for 13 hours to try to prevent the passage of highly restrictive anti-choice legislation.  I know I’m super late in posting this, but I still think it’s worth talking about, because what’s happening in Texas is pretty concerning.  After Davis successfully managed to fillibuster, Republicans in Texas attempted to change the time-stamp on the vote to get SB5 passed.  That’s not only illegal, but it raises significant concerns about the legislature’s ability to effectively represent the people, given that a large number of people oppose SB5.

It’s more than that, though.  Governor Rick Perry, speaking on the subject of women’s health advocates, said this: “The louder they scream, the more we know we are getting something done”.  This is a horrible, ridiculous mentality to adopt, and it’s truly alarming to see it in the governor of one of the largest states in the country and a former presidential hopeful.  For anyone who is still insisting there is no “war on women”, read that quote one more time.

And that’s what concerns me: there is no flexibility on this issue.  SB5 is trying to impose restrictions similar to those the Global Gag Rule imposed on developing countries: it’s not just organizations that perform abortions that are being denied funding, but organizations that even discuss abortion as an option. This isn’t how healthcare is supposed to work.  A doctor’s job is to present options to his or her patients, not play politics.  On top of that, Republicans are actively trying to restrict the ability of women to control their own bodies, for political reasons.  This isn’t about women’s health, it’s about controlling what women can do, and that’s a significant issue.

Texas is a case study in what could happen if women don’t start fighting back across the United States.  A sweeping anti-choice bill just cleared the Senate in North Carolina.  The governor of Ohio recently signed into law new anti-choice measures as well, and the House of Representatives recently passed a serious anti-choice bill that we can only hope dies in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Texas women are trying to fight back.  The House Committee on State Affairs in Texas recently approved SB1, which is just SB5 with a different name, and it moves to full vote next week.  Activists are flooding to Austin in an attempt to fight the passage of this bill.  You can go to Stand with Texas Women’s page to support their efforts, add your voice on the EMILY’s List page for Wendy Davis, and support pro-choice candidates in your own state.  (Oh, and you can get a free Stand with Wendy bumper sticker here.)

Wendy Davis did something incredible when she stood up to filibuster SB5: she reminded us that women still have a voice, and that we can still fight back.  So speak up.  Fight back.  Elect people who actually represent the views of Americans.  Don’t just stand with Wendy, but stand together-~-because together, we can be loud enough to be heard.  Together, we have enough votes to demand change.  Together, we have enough funds to give our candidates a chance.  Together, we can work towards something better.

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~ by Randi Saunders on July 5, 2013.

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