Texas Abortion Laws

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Texas Abortion Laws

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:59 am UTC

There is currently a major fight going on in Texas over new abortion legislation that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy (cf. Roe v. Wade puts viability at 24 weeks), and result in the closure of the vast majority of the state's abortion clinics, potentially forcing women to travel hundreds of miles to get an abortion.

Women's rights activists have been fighting hard against the bill, staging a "citizen's filibuster" against the bill by having hundreds of women speak against the bill at the House committee stage. Later, the Senate Democrats launched a filibuster of their own, a nearly thirteen hour marathon that was ultimately ended on procedural grounds.

The abortion bill is wildly unpopular in the polls, but the GOP is pursuing it nonetheless.

[edit]A highlight moment of the debate was one GOP representative claiming that rape exceptions aren't necessary because rape kits are able to prevent pregnancy...

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Magnanimous » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:42 am UTC

Texas Tribune Twitter. Apparently the time stamps on the senate records were recently modified to show the vote happening before midnight, even though a livestream of about 175,000 people watched it happen after midnight...

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby phlip » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:59 am UTC

From following the rage on Twitter today, the rough order of events seemed to be: Wendy Davis needed to filibuster for 13 hours to get to midnight... at which point the Senate session would be over (this was the last day, apparently). She managed to go for 11 hours before being finally stopped by minor bullshit (in a discussion about abortions, she was called out for going offtopic by mentioning Roe vs Wade and mandatory sonogram laws, since those obviously have nothing to do with abortion... that, along with a third thing that had come up before, hit some dumb three-strikes rule and the filibuster was over). Now, I think the filibuster is a ridiculous convention that shouldn't exist (laws should be debated, by actual rational people who have an interest in good laws being passed, not argued about by idiots and then held up by physical stamina challenges), but I believe Davis was a truly excellent human being for putting up with it for as long as she did... and from what I hear, even after that, she remained standing for the rest of the session anyway out of sheer defiance.

After that, the dems managed to hold up the process for another hour and a half or so by debating and appealing the procedural minutia that ended the filibuster, which took it up to about 20 minutes to midnight. Then they tried to force the vote through, but weren't able to actually get it done over the chaos and noise from protesters in the peanut gallery. By the time they'd managed to clear out the protesters and actually hold the vote, it was 12:02am... past the magical deadline. So, naturally, after spending all day picking procedural minutia during the filibuster, the GOP decided to ignore the rules and push forward with the vote anyway, which passed. According to the official Texas records, it showed as having passed on 26 June, against the rules of the system... for a while. After a bit it was silently amended, and currently reads as having passed on 25 June.

And this the same day as the VRA thing... America: this is my unimpressed face. You have DOMA/Prop 8 tomorrow to try to try to recover.

[edit] Apparently it's official: the bill did not pass in time. Official time of the vote: 12:03. Not 11:63 as the GOP was hoping.

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:18 pm UTC

In 1983, the Department of Transportation made a rule that a state that had a drinking age below 21 would lose 10% of its highway funding. The Supreme Court agreed this was legal by 5-4, Sandra Day O'Conner (the only Justice I liked) was one of the 4.

So why can't Health and Human services make a rule that if you don't meet some minimum guideline, you lose 10% of Medicaid subsidies or whatever the DoH&H can cut?

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby yurell » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:23 pm UTC

Because I imagine those states that pass these laws are quite happy to fuck the poor.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:32 pm UTC

No, not quite; they fuck the poor when it's their own money, but they absolutely love the fed portion of Medicaid, as it gives money to their states by taxing other states.

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:36 pm UTC

You're confusing the Department of Transportation with Congress; the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was an act of Congress. HHS likely lacks the authority to condition funding on abortion policy.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Xenomortis » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:56 pm UTC

America, you scare me.
An 11 hour filibuster is impressive*. A shame that that is what it came down to.

*Although reading up on the issue, apparently it's nowhere near the longest.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:58 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:You're confusing the Department of Transportation with Congress; the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was an act of Congress. HHS likely lacks the authority to condition funding on abortion policy.


So why can't congress enact legislation doing the same for abortion?

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:07 pm UTC

They probably could. But it would be politically infeasible.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby DSenette » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:58 pm UTC

i'm trying to find where I saw it but somewhere at the beginning of the debacle someone asked her something along the lines of what she thought she needed to do to be taken seriously like a male senator...something to that effect.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby phlip » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:06 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:i'm trying to find where I saw it but somewhere at the beginning of the debacle someone asked her something along the lines of what she thought she needed to do to be taken seriously like a male senator...something to that effect.

This? (For context, she'd been trying to get a word in edgewise for a while, and was being continually ignored by the chair/speaker/whatever they're called...)

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby DSenette » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:12 pm UTC

maybe...though I wonder what was before and after that. I wish I knew where the thing that I saw was.

edit: found it....was a post on facebook from a friend who was present. I misread it..so yeah that video is the thing
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Cleverbeans » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:11 pm UTC

The vote was declared void, and the filibuster therefore successful.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby clockworkmonk » Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:53 pm UTC

The fact that the vote officially happened after midnight sort of surprised me. The Texas legislature has, during regular sessions, literally turned the clock back officially to allow a day's business to continue past midnight. It might be that special sessions have different rules.

The next big concern would be another special session, which Lt. Governor Dewhurst hinted as a possibility.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby EdgarJPublius » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:03 pm UTC

Yea, timestamp manipulation shenanigans are ensconced in Texas legislative tradition, like ghost voting and many other practices that make the Texas Legislature a horrible mess that doesn't actually represent it's constituents positions on the issues.

A second special session wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, there are several bills that I'm interested in seeing passed (and which are somewhat less contentious than the abortion issue) but which narrowly missed being included in this special session. hopefully we can get a special session to address those issues without having to revisit this abortion mess.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby DSenette » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:32 pm UTC

clockworkmonk wrote:The fact that the vote officially happened after midnight sort of surprised me. The Texas legislature has, during regular sessions, literally turned the clock back officially to allow a day's business to continue past midnight. It might be that special sessions have different rules.

The next big concern would be another special session, which Lt. Governor Dewhurst hinted as a possibility.

it seems to me that it's more likely the amount of eyeballs peering at the clock from outside of the texas legislature.

if they turn back the clock to get another farmer subsidy bill done....then I doubt anyone would really kick down the door. this case, well it's a bit different.

what i'm sayin is...that just because there are other times that they have turned the clock back, doesn't mean that they like...legally could turn the clock back all those times. those times just didn't matter enough for anyone outside of texas/the room where they do their legislating to give two shits.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby DaBigCheez » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:34 pm UTC

I was surprised and somewhat heartened by the fact that, in essence, the issue was decided by calling in the peanut-gallery cavalry - the audience themselves "filibustered" by shouting loudly enough that they couldn't hear the votes, for the last 10-15 minutes needed to push it into overtime, before they managed to clear them out of the chamber...Like the existence of the filibuster itself, it's one of those things where I think it shouldn't influence/be allowed to influence the legislative process, but it was still nice to see the show of support for Sen. Davis from the crowd.

It's rather undeniable, no matter which side you ask, that the last half-hour was an absolute circus that made a mockery of legislative proceedings, between the "germaneness" rulings (sonogram bill not germane to discussing obstructions to abortion services? really?), extremely...selective choice of which motions to acknowledge (Sen. Davis making a motion to adjourn that was not recognized, leading to both the comments "Did the President not hear my motion at the time, or did he hear it and refuse to acknowledge it?" and "At what point must a female Senator raise her hand or her voice to make herself heard above the male senators?" both of which together...seem about as close as you can come under rules of congressional decorum to just flipping the podium the bird), and the near-riots from the crowd disrupting the proceedings to the point of the outcome being decided not by the legislature but by the crowd/mob.

Between this and the VRA thing ("'Congress, if it is to divide the states, must identify those jurisdictions to be singled out on a basis that makes sense in light of current conditions,' [Roberts] wrote. 'It cannot simply rely on the past.' ... "Texas announced shortly after the decision that a voter identification law that had been blocked would go into effect immediately, and that redistricting maps there would no longer need federal approval."), not impressed with the Texas legislature, but it was certainly a dramatic closing half-hour.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Grog » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:48 pm UTC

I couldn't believe this was real. It is so ridiculous I am at a loss for words. And this is a democratic process in a democratic country? Lol Texas you don't know nothing about democracy. A speech of 11 hour to stall a widely impopular decision?
I'm sorry I don't want to offend no one, but this ain't democracy. This is some kind of joke.

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby DSenette » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:53 pm UTC

Grog wrote:I couldn't believe this was real. It is so ridiculous I am at a loss for words. And this is a democratic process in a democratic country? Lol Texas you don't know nothing about democracy. A speech of 11 hour to stall a widely impopular decision?
I'm sorry I don't want to offend no one, but this ain't democracy. This is some kind of joke.

the widely [sic]impopular decision that was (based on the vote that didn't count) going to pass into law.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby K-R » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:54 pm UTC

The United States of America is not a democracy.

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:05 pm UTC

And technically Britain is a Theocracy. True Democracy, in the sense that every law and action is voted on directly rather than through representation, does not exist in any country. Your point?

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby omgryebread » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:26 pm UTC

Stop confusing "democracy" and "direct democracy". Direct democracy is a subset of democracy. Another subset is representative democracy. Both are democracies.

The State of Texas is a democracy and a republic. A republican democracy, or a democratic republic.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jun 26, 2013 7:36 pm UTC

The pledge of alliegience specifically refers to the US as a Republic. The US is a bicameral Democratic Republic.

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:15 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:There is currently a major fight going on in Texas over new abortion legislation that would ban all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy (cf. Roe v. Wade puts viability at 24 weeks), and result in the closure of the vast majority of the state's abortion clinics, potentially forcing women to travel hundreds of miles to get an abortion.


I could see a reasonable argument that viability has adjusted since Roe vs Wade thanks to advances in medical science, but 20 weeks is still pretty early. I suppose the question is, what is viability? Better than even shot at surviving given good medical care? Even one successful survival? The latter seems unreasonable as a standard to me.

Of course, I strongly suspect that they do not actually care about the age of viability at all, but rather, are trying to creatively get a de-facto ban by adding obstacles. This, obviously, goes against the spirit of Roe vs Wade at minimum.

I have to reluctantly agree that the audience shouting loud enough to drown out votes should not be a viable option. While part of me likes the idea of those watching expressing their opinion quite forcefully(In MD, even brief clapping or the like will get you ejected), its rather easy to find a few vocal folks on any given topic, and if shouting was a standard maneuver, well, the whole thing could deteriorate pretty badly.

And yeah, we're a democracy. We're also not a direct democracy, but could also be described as a republic. There's a LOT of definitions for government, and they are not exclusive. However, something being democratic should not be confused with it being good. It might be, but terrible laws have been passed entirely democratically before.

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:18 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I could see a reasonable argument that viability has adjusted since Roe vs Wade thanks to advances in medical science, but 20 weeks is still pretty early. I suppose the question is, what is viability?
Yes, viability has changed since in the last 40 years. 12 other states have 20 week bans, according to the BBC, so that aspect wasn't a revolutionary concept.
Tyndmyr wrote:Of course, I strongly suspect that they do not actually care about the age of viability at all, but rather, are trying to creatively get a de-facto ban by adding obstacles. This, obviously, goes against the spirit of Roe vs Wade at minimum.

Alternatively, they could have been horrified by the conviction of a licensed abortionist in PA who killed women through negligence, and want to put safeguards in place to make sure that women aren't going to horrible negligent monsters for care. I admit that the 30 mile requirement seems restrictive and doesn't accommodate rural areas, but why is it so bad to make doctors have to be licensed to perform surgery before they, you know, perform surgery. Safe, legal, and rare, right?

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Belial » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:24 pm UTC

Yes, they are so sincerely worried.

I will say it again: There is room for a real, legitimate debate about the specific terms and restrictions surrounding abortion.

So why should you still be out there screaming, “My body, my life, my right to decide,” with the orange-shirted women and men at the Capitol? If you have conflicting feelings, if you take the ethical concerns surrounding abortion at face value, why should you stand up and shake your fist and yell at the top of your lungs for “choice”?

Because the debate will never happen. Because it’s all a big fucking sham.

Don’t be naive, Amy, I can hear you saying. You didn’t know it was a sham? You thought Texas Republicans were actually invested in women’s health when they introduced this bill, in making medical procedures safer for women?

I wasn’t that naive. But I did think that state reps maybe, just maybe, had ethical and moral objections to abortion.

I no longer believe this is the case.

If they did, they would have debated the issue.

If they did, they would have answered questions about their own bill.

If they did, they wouldn’t have been playing Candy Crush on their cell phones, talking loudly to one another, milling around the floor, snoozing in their chairs, and cutting up like a pack of fourth-grade boys in gym class.

They wouldn’t have been showing each other stuff on their laptops and slapping each other on the back during nonpartisan testimony from the Texas Medical Association that as written, the legislation would introduce a new medical threat to all pregnant women because of a chilling effect on doctors—not abortion providers, mind you, we’re talking about ob/gyns—preventing them from making medical decisions to save the life of mother and child.

They wouldn’t have been smiling and bursting into unrelated laughter as a Democratic rep testified about the difficulty he and his wife had of conceiving their first child, speaking movingly of how serious and complicated an issue abortion was for him.

They wouldn’t have been facing the opposite direction or talking loudly on their cell phones when Rep. Dukes told the story of a woman she met who went through a botched, back-alley abortion before Roe V. Wade.

If Republican Pat Fallon, for instance, gave a shit about the life of the fetus, he wouldn’t have spent the entire eight hours of debate sneaking potato chips from a manila envelope, doing bizarre little dances from his chair, and brandishing a yardstick like a play sword to poke his buddies in the butt as they walked by. But Rep. Pat Fallon wasn’t actually fighting for the life of anything but his own political career. And all he had to do to accomplish that goal was to ignore every logical argument, compassionate plea, and harrowing anecdote delivered that night, just plug his fat little ears and pretend he was back in the frat house. Mission accomplished.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:41 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I have to reluctantly agree that the audience shouting loud enough to drown out votes should not be a viable option.
The thing is, the people trying to pass legislation that will have a very real, very negative impact on the quality of life for women aren't playing fair. So when the people trying to stop that also stop playing fair, I'm actually pretty okay with it. I mean, yeah, the process of legislation is in serious need of a goddamn overhaul (holy shit, Texas), but if politics were working like they should I don't think the people fighting against this toxic legislation would have to cheat to win.
Heisenberg wrote:Alternatively, they could have been horrified by the conviction of a licensed abortionist in PA who killed women through negligence, and want to put safeguards in place to make sure that women aren't going to horrible negligent monsters for care. I admit that the 30 mile requirement seems restrictive and doesn't accommodate rural areas, but why is it so bad to make doctors have to be licensed to perform surgery before they, you know, perform surgery. Safe, legal, and rare, right?
Whenever I hear a story about bad doctors botching abortions, the first thing I wonder is why women go to bad doctors who botch abortions. I bet it has a lot to do with the scarcity of good doctors willing (and able!) to perform abortions.

I mean, I feel what you're saying in some sense, but I think it's tremendously optimistic of you to think that was what this was about.

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:45 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Alternatively, they could have been horrified by the conviction of a licensed abortionist in PA who killed women through negligence, and want to put safeguards in place to make sure that women aren't going to horrible negligent monsters for care. I admit that the 30 mile requirement seems restrictive and doesn't accommodate rural areas, but why is it so bad to make doctors have to be licensed to perform surgery before they, you know, perform surgery. Safe, legal, and rare, right?


Most abortions don't require surgery. Abortions are also, on a per capita basis, about ten times safer than childbirth, which doesn't even require a doctor to be present.

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Heisenberg » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:03 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I mean, I feel what you're saying in some sense, but I think it's tremendously optimistic of you to think that was what this was about.
Sure, this battle was between two lobbies with no real interest in discussing the issues. That's why the whole thing ended with each side trying to yell the loudest. But there's been a lot of pessimism in the reporting, also. There are 46 (?) abortion clinics in the state. 5 of them could continue just fine. It seems disingenuous to assume that the other 41 are just going to throw in the towel and shut their doors rather than conform to new regulations. This is like the auto industry threatening to fire everyone over seat belt laws. I'm sure it'll have an impact but it's been blown way out of proportion.
LaserGuy wrote:Most abortions don't require surgery. Abortions are also, on a per capita basis, about ten times safer than childbirth, which doesn't even require a doctor to be present.
What on Earth? Requiring a doctor to be present for a birth would be impossible. We do require a doctor to be present when someone needs to get in and remove the child, as through a c-section. It's the difference between something that happens on its own (birth) and something you have to induce (c-section). Having a doctor on hand is a really good idea, and really does make the procedure safer (as long as your doctor is not a murderer).

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:31 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:Most abortions don't require surgery. Abortions are also, on a per capita basis, about ten times safer than childbirth, which doesn't even require a doctor to be present.
What on Earth? Requiring a doctor to be present for a birth would be impossible. [...]
The 'required' here does not mean 'mandated'. It means that an abortion requires a doctor to be present because that's how the procedure gets performed, whereas childbirth occurs naturally on its own, doctor or not.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Xeio » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:12 pm UTC

As if anyone didn't expect this. So it's basically a delay. Hopefully now more people are informed, but I don't think there's much hope to stop the idiot train in the Texas legislature.

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:23 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:Sure, this battle was between two lobbies with no real interest in discussing the issues. That's why the whole thing ended with each side trying to yell the loudest. But there's been a lot of pessimism in the reporting, also. There are 46 (?) abortion clinics in the state. 5 of them could continue just fine. It seems disingenuous to assume that the other 41 are just going to throw in the towel and shut their doors rather than conform to new regulations. This is like the auto industry threatening to fire everyone over seat belt laws. I'm sure it'll have an impact but it's been blown way out of proportion.
I dunno; retool your metaphor and imagine a situation where politicians really, really wanted to shut down the entire auto industry, and the seatbelt laws were kind of superfluous and not designed with the intent of protecting lives (just giving the auto-industry shit).

Suddenly, it seems a lot more important to me to not let the politicians win this one.

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Bsob » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:33 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Yes, they are so sincerely worried.

I will say it again: There is room for a real, legitimate debate about the specific terms and restrictions surrounding abortion.

So why should you still be out there screaming, “My body, my life, my right to decide,” with the orange-shirted women and men at the Capitol? If you have conflicting feelings, if you take the ethical concerns surrounding abortion at face value, why should you stand up and shake your fist and yell at the top of your lungs for “choice”?

Because the debate will never happen. Because it’s all a big fucking sham.

Don’t be naive, Amy, I can hear you saying. You didn’t know it was a sham? You thought Texas Republicans were actually invested in women’s health when they introduced this bill, in making medical procedures safer for women?

I wasn’t that naive. But I did think that state reps maybe, just maybe, had ethical and moral objections to abortion.

I no longer believe this is the case.

If they did, they would have debated the issue.

If they did, they would have answered questions about their own bill.

If they did, they wouldn’t have been playing Candy Crush on their cell phones, talking loudly to one another, milling around the floor, snoozing in their chairs, and cutting up like a pack of fourth-grade boys in gym class.

They wouldn’t have been showing each other stuff on their laptops and slapping each other on the back during nonpartisan testimony from the Texas Medical Association that as written, the legislation would introduce a new medical threat to all pregnant women because of a chilling effect on doctors—not abortion providers, mind you, we’re talking about ob/gyns—preventing them from making medical decisions to save the life of mother and child.

They wouldn’t have been smiling and bursting into unrelated laughter as a Democratic rep testified about the difficulty he and his wife had of conceiving their first child, speaking movingly of how serious and complicated an issue abortion was for him.

They wouldn’t have been facing the opposite direction or talking loudly on their cell phones when Rep. Dukes told the story of a woman she met who went through a botched, back-alley abortion before Roe V. Wade.

If Republican Pat Fallon, for instance, gave a shit about the life of the fetus, he wouldn’t have spent the entire eight hours of debate sneaking potato chips from a manila envelope, doing bizarre little dances from his chair, and brandishing a yardstick like a play sword to poke his buddies in the butt as they walked by. But Rep. Pat Fallon wasn’t actually fighting for the life of anything but his own political career. And all he had to do to accomplish that goal was to ignore every logical argument, compassionate plea, and harrowing anecdote delivered that night, just plug his fat little ears and pretend he was back in the frat house. Mission accomplished.


I double dog dare you to sit through an 8 hour debate without sneaking food, fidgeting, telling jokes to your neighbor, pulling out your cell phone, nodding off, or turning around; especially if you knew a 13 hour filibusterer was incoming.

I mean really? People are people. Have you ever been to one of these open mic sessions? The first person says something, then the next 23 say the exact same thing, with slightly different wordings. 700 people signed up to testify. They listened to 400 of them. No matter how compassionate a plea is, the 400th time you hear it, your mind will wander.

Really though, "They snuck potato chips! They must not care at all!!!!"

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Belial » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:46 am UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
The Great Hippo wrote:I mean, I feel what you're saying in some sense, but I think it's tremendously optimistic of you to think that was what this was about.
Sure, this battle was between two lobbies with no real interest in discussing the issues. That's why the whole thing ended with each side trying to yell the loudest. But there's been a lot of pessimism in the reporting, also. There are 46 (?) abortion clinics in the state. 5 of them could continue just fine. It seems disingenuous to assume that the other 41 are just going to throw in the towel and shut their doors rather than conform to new regulations. This is like the auto industry threatening to fire everyone over seat belt laws. I'm sure it'll have an impact but it's been blown way out of proportion.


The regulations...aren't exactly easy to retool to. Abortion clinics don't make money hand over fist as it is. Hiring (completely unnecessary) surgeons with admitting rights to local hospitals (many of which don't even offer those privileges) and otherwise upgrading themselves to "surgical centers" is not something they can just do. At best, it would be fantastically expensive, at worst it would be impossible without either relocating or building an entire hospital next door.

bsob wrote:I double dog dare you to sit through an 8 hour debate without sneaking food, fidgeting, telling jokes to your neighbor, pulling out your cell phone, nodding off, or turning around; especially if you knew a 13 hour filibusterer was incoming.


I think when your entire job is to pay attention to that 8 hour debate, and it's on a matter you care so deeply about, you can at least behave in a semi-respectful manner. Why do we even have debates in the legislature if the people whose job it is to actually weigh these issues can't even pretend to listen to them?

I find the explanation "they were being openly contemptuous" much more convincing.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby qetzal » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:00 am UTC

Yeah, Texas legislators are really doing this out of concern for women's health! That's why they've all taken such pains to be well informed on the facts. Just like Republican Jodie Laubenberg, lead TX House sponsor of the abortion bill, who explained that rape exceptions aren't necessary because:

"[In] the emergency rooms they have what’s called rape kits, that the woman can get cleaned out, basically like a D and C...."

Yes, folks, you read that right. The lead Republican sponsor of the Texas (anti-)abortion bill thinks that rape kits are used to ensure that the victims won't get pregnant. That's the quality of state legislator we're graced with here in the "great" state of Texas.

[hangs head in shame]

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Weeks » Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:26 am UTC

The term is new to me (being a foreigner), but I have the decency to at least look it up first. Hm.
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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Jun 27, 2013 3:36 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Heisenberg wrote:Sure, this battle was between two lobbies with no real interest in discussing the issues. That's why the whole thing ended with each side trying to yell the loudest. But there's been a lot of pessimism in the reporting, also. There are 46 (?) abortion clinics in the state. 5 of them could continue just fine. It seems disingenuous to assume that the other 41 are just going to throw in the towel and shut their doors rather than conform to new regulations. This is like the auto industry threatening to fire everyone over seat belt laws. I'm sure it'll have an impact but it's been blown way out of proportion.
I dunno; retool your metaphor and imagine a situation where politicians really, really wanted to shut down the entire auto industry, and the seatbelt laws were kind of superfluous and not designed with the intent of protecting lives (just giving the auto-industry shit).

Suddenly, it seems a lot more important to me to not let the politicians win this one.



I think that's what they did in, I want to say, North Dakota; change the building codes for abortion clinics every 3 months in the most expensive ways possible in the name of 'safety' and act surprised when the clinics have to shut down because they are either not up to code or under construction.

You know how the Deep South until the other day could not change their election laws unless the Federal government agreed to it? The same should apply to abortion regulations in the states that fight Roe v Wade tooth and nail.

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:18 am UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I could see a reasonable argument that viability has adjusted since Roe vs Wade thanks to advances in medical science, but 20 weeks is still pretty early. I suppose the question is, what is viability?
Yes, viability has changed since in the last 40 years. 12 other states have 20 week bans, according to the BBC, so that aspect wasn't a revolutionary concept.


The fact that other states are also doing it does not negate the fact that using that bar for viability is...questionable, and depends on your definition of viability.

Tyndmyr wrote:Of course, I strongly suspect that they do not actually care about the age of viability at all, but rather, are trying to creatively get a de-facto ban by adding obstacles. This, obviously, goes against the spirit of Roe vs Wade at minimum.

Alternatively, they could have been horrified by the conviction of a licensed abortionist in PA who killed women through negligence, and want to put safeguards in place to make sure that women aren't going to horrible negligent monsters for care. I admit that the 30 mile requirement seems restrictive and doesn't accommodate rural areas, but why is it so bad to make doctors have to be licensed to perform surgery before they, you know, perform surgery. Safe, legal, and rare, right?


I have absolutely no problem with licensing doctors and holding them accountable for misdeeds. And yes, the PA system was horrible, and it was correct that he was held accountable. However, your connection between a negligent abortionist in PA and viability limits in TX seems very sketchy. How does the latter fix the former?

The Great Hippo wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I have to reluctantly agree that the audience shouting loud enough to drown out votes should not be a viable option.
The thing is, the people trying to pass legislation that will have a very real, very negative impact on the quality of life for women aren't playing fair. So when the people trying to stop that also stop playing fair, I'm actually pretty okay with it. I mean, yeah, the process of legislation is in serious need of a goddamn overhaul (holy shit, Texas), but if politics were working like they should I don't think the people fighting against this toxic legislation would have to cheat to win.


Ah, the good ol' "They played dirty too" argument. Yes, both sides can use that argument forever to justify all manner of dirty tricks. However, the outcome of shouting the opposition down being declared legitimate is going to be repeated use of that. Replacing dialog, however poor, with shouting each other down, does not seem to be an improvement.

Belial wrote:
bsob wrote:I double dog dare you to sit through an 8 hour debate without sneaking food, fidgeting, telling jokes to your neighbor, pulling out your cell phone, nodding off, or turning around; especially if you knew a 13 hour filibusterer was incoming.


I think when your entire job is to pay attention to that 8 hour debate, and it's on a matter you care so deeply about, you can at least behave in a semi-respectful manner. Why do we even have debates in the legislature if the people whose job it is to actually weigh these issues can't even pretend to listen to them?

I find the explanation "they were being openly contemptuous" much more convincing.


It's unprofessional, to be sure...but it's also business as usual. I've seen this a ton here in MD, with legislators watching the game on their laptop, shopping online, sleeping, or otherwise obviously not paying attention. Sneaking in food falls into "everyone does it" category, and given the length of time some sessions go on for, I can't fault them on that one. The obviously not paying attention aspect is kind of sad, though.

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Re: Texas Abortion Laws

Postby clockworkmonk » Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:21 pm UTC

So a second special session was called. On the schedule is abortion laws once again, citing a respect for all life. Incidentally, the same night Rick Perry made this statement Texas executed its 500th person.
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