In the state of Texas, the law has consistently protected men from unqualified medical practitioners, and from inadequate and unsanitary medical facilities.
Women, not so much.
A man seeking treatment at an ambulatory care center in Texas can be assured that the facility meets minimum standards—with medical clinics, for example, having ambulatory surgical facilities on site, and attending physicians having privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic, in case of emergency.
But a woman in the state who seeks an abortion or other reproductive services at a local Planned Parenthood or women’s clinic has had no such protections.
Senate Bill 5, which enjoys support in the Republican-led legislature, did not render abortion illegal; rather, SB5 would have ensured that women received the highest quality care. Phil Lawler, quoting an Associated Press story, explained:
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.
Lawler raises his eyebrows and considers just what this controversial measure would do:
So let’s see: The law would require abortion clinics to pass muster as ambulatory surgical centers, since what they do is ambulatory surgery. And since sometimes things go wrong in surgery, the doctors would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within a reasonable distance. Applied to any other medical procedure, these rules would seem perfectly logical, reasonable, prudent exercises of regulatory oversight. But when abortion is in question, prudent oversight is abandoned.
Seems reasonable, right? Feminists, though—determined to prevent implementation of any and all restrictions on abortion—would have none of it.
Enter Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, a perky blonde from Fort Worth noted among Democratic legislators because she had herself been a teen mother, and therefore, could “understand” the need for abortion. Senator Davis, outfitted with comfy pink tennis shoes (and a urinary catheter to ensure that she could withstand an extended time without using the bathroom), launched an eleven-hour filibuster which made her a feminist hero and media celebrity.
Despite media acclaim for the feminist senator, however, it wasn’t really Wendy Davis who defeated the bill. When Davis veered off topic late in the filibuster, after ten hours of speeches, Republicans stepped in and demanded that the bill be brought to a vote. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst ruled that SB5 should come to a vote; and with only fifteen minutes to spare until the end of the special session, the vote began at 11:45 p.m.
What happened next was a chaotic “citizens’ filibuster”, with pro-abortion demonstrators creating such a clatter in the gallery that the senators could not hear to vote. Screaming, stomping feminists circumvented the legal process until the midnight hour had passed, and the vote—which was ultimately 17-12 in favor of the abortion limits—was declared invalid.
The sistertoldjah blog tells the story of the bedlam which occurred in the final moments of the special session:
Updated at 12:48 a.m.
The vote began at 11:45 p.m. For the next 15 minutes — far longer, actually — spectators in the gallery overlooking the Senate floor unleashed a tremendous and sustained scream that drowned out every effort to establish order. With so many loud protesters outside the chambers, apparently there weren’t enough DPS troopers available, and spectators were escorted out very slowly.
With the initial vote stymied, senators were called up front to vote again shortly before midnight. While that vote was still underway, Sens. Royce West and Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, both Democrats, began holding up their cell phones to show that they read “12:00.”
So the pro-abortion forces have been celebrating—but their victory is expected to be short-lived. Texas Governor Rick Perry has called for yet another special legislative session on July 1. Governor Perry, in insisting on the special session to address this bill, seemed to refer to the recent case of Hermit Gosnell, saying, “The horrors of the national late-term abortion industry are continuing to come to light, one atrocity at a time. Sadly, some of these same atrocities happen in our own state.”
Next time, the Republican-led Senate is determined to pass this bill.
If SB5 becomes law in the state of Texas, Texas will join Alabama, Nebraska, Oklahoma and eight other states which have approved fetal-pain initiatives making abortion after the 20th week illegal. What’s more, if the bill passes, Democrats warn that 37 of the state’s 42 clinics, which cannot afford the upgrades necessary to comply with the standards required of other ambulatory surgery centers, will be forced to close their doors.
One can hope.
Blogger Thomas Umstaddt Jr. offers some helpful tips for pro-life Texans on what to do now. He lists five mistakes pro-lifers made on SB5, and coaches them on how to win next time.
Governor Rick Perry has called another special session of the legislature, which will take up the issue tomorrow, July 1. It’s imperative that the issue come to a vote this time. Check out Thomas’ recommendations and his links.
Really. Do it now.