Don’t Mess with Us Lefty Women in Texas

I can see Ann Richards smiling down on us gals in Texas who are uppity enough to think we were born with civil rights!

I included a brief link on this story in the Monday reads, but it got buried at the end and I thought this deserved it’s own spot on the frontpage anyway.

Some fun stuff went on here in Texas last Thursday in the debate over the sonogram-before-you-exercise-your-civil-rights law.

Amanda Marcotte has the scoop at RH Reality Check:

Furious at the sexist paternalism and anti-choice nuttery behind this bill—but unable to do anything to stop it—pro-choice Texas legislators instead decided to engage in a bit of performance art to draw attention to the hostility towards women and short-sightedness inherent in these ultrasound bills that condescendingly masquerade as caring.

Ah, some of that  Feminists Behaving Badlyspirit I wrote about in December is making an appearance as the war on women continues unabated! It’s about time.

Houston state representative Harold Dutton got the most coverage for repeatedly making the point that “pro-lifers” drop all pretense of caring about life the second it can’t be used to punish sexually active women.  In rapid order, he introduced three amendments that were tabled by the majority, who really didn’t want to address the issue of the wellbeing of actual children when potential children matter so much more to them.  All three amendments addressed what should happen if a woman looks at a sonogram and decides not to have abortion.

Guess what the first, second, and third amendments were. I bet a lot of you could! We’ve got a running commentary in the comments suggesting this sort of thing all the time:

The first amendment would have required the state to pay for the child’s college tuition, the second required the state to pay for the child’s health care until age 18, and the third required the state to pay for the child’s health care until age six.

Now, of course these amendments were blocked, but Dutton made the point we all know so well. The rightwing assault on women’s rights has nothing to do with protecting the life of children.

There were more amendments in addition to Dutton’s, and they just get more clever. Representative Joaquin Castro of San Antonio offered up an amendment that would require abortion clinics to give medically accurate advice about contraception (which they already do). Of course, that amendment too was tabled. Castro also added amendments that called for the state to a) expedite the Medicaid application process for women who get sonograms and b) protect abortion patients from stalking, harassment, and violence. Neither passed, of course.

And, here was the amendment from Rep. Marisa Marquez of El Paso:

Sec.A171.057.AAMANDATORY VASECTOMY. On an application under Section 171.056, a court shall order a man to undergo a vasectomy if it is shown that:

(1) the man is the father of the pregnant woman’s child outside of marriage; and

(2) previous to the date of application, the man was a father to two or more other children by two or more other women outside of marriage.

In other words, the Personal Responsibility for Sexually Active Men Amendment!

I don’t even have to tell you what happened to that one.

As you may have heard by now and probably suspected anyway, the draconian forced sonogram (i.e. forced pregnancy!) law passed the Texas House, and it did so naturally without any of these amendments.

But, it’s clear that the so-called “Culture of Life” is a promiscuous emperor who’s not wearing any clothes and doesn’t care about zygotes, blastocysts, embryos, or fetuses once they’re born or about preventing unwanted pregnancies or even helping poor women pay for the freaking sonogram. Nor about the safety of the poor deluded damsels in distress they believe have been brainwashed into having abortions. And, the pantsless deadbeat babydaddy emperor certainly doesn’t want to see any forced vasectomies.

Just this morning I ran across this doozy in a roundup of headlines at the Austin American Statesman:

New York Times columnist Gail Collins recently said Texas “ranks third in teen pregnancies… and it is No. 1 in repeat teen pregnancies.” That statement is Mostly True, according to PolitiFact Texas.

Governor Goodhair (miss Molly Ivins along with Ann) fasttracked this ridiculous sonogram bill, declaring an “emergency” status for it, but if the Texas theocratic equivalent of the Taliban really wants to focus on a pregnancy-related emergency, perhaps they should look at the fact that Texas is tops in teen pregnancy–once again making our state the national buffoon of rankings. Their abstinence-only, forced pregnancy agenda looks like an even bigger joke when considered in this light.

Then again, teen pregnancy seems to be something they *want* to be tops in. For some reason which makes no logical sense, the Huckabees and the Palins find more fault with the pregnancies of financially independent women like Natalie Portman or the fictional Murphy Brown while they applaud the fictional Junos.

Anyhow, the lead story at that Statesman roundup is about Perry appearing with Grover Norquist tomorrow. More anti-tax rhetoric in store, woohoo.

See for the rightwing, we’re all subhuman and corporations and clumps of red whatnot are “people” — except for when it comes time for “personal” responsibility. Then suddenly, those of us, adult and children, who are living and breathing suddenly are “people” with “responsibilities.”

The right talks about our budget like it’s a family affair, which it’s not as Kat so expertly explained in her last post, but when it comes time for even the forced sonogram that they’ve declared an “emergency” for, well, it’s not so family-ish anymore, it doesn’t take any kind of village.

This is the oligarchy’s distraction from passing any kind of meaningful economic policy. That in itself is a devastating cost to all of us, but added onto that is the fact that this distraction is being born on the backs of women, their civil rights, and their families.

Just take a look at this story about a Nebraska family — Her baby wasn’t expected to live, but Nebraska law banned abortion:

There was less than a 10 percent chance their child would have a heartbeat and be able to breathe on its own. There was an even smaller chance – estimated at 2 percent – that the baby would ultimately be able to perform the most basic functions on its own, such as eating.

Robb and Danielle, left alone in an exam room, held each other and discussed what to do. They just couldn’t see the logic in exhausting painful, expensive medical procedures after being told they had almost no chance to save their baby’s life.

They decided: There are worse things than death.

“So (the perinatologist) came in, and we said we’d just like to put an end to this nightmare and can you help us. She said, no, she can’t,” Danielle said.

The perinatologist said Nebraska’s abortion law, which had been in effect less than two months, would not allow Danielle to terminate her pregnancy because her baby still had a heartbeat and because her own life was not immediately jeopardized.

The couple went home to wait, brokenhearted. They acknowledge they could probably have gone to another state to terminate the pregnancy. Danielle said she felt intense stress and wasn’t strong enough emotionally to deal with an unfamiliar place and doctors she hadn’t met.

Eight days later, Danielle went into contractions, and baby Elizabeth was born to her 15-minute life.

Legislating pregnancy is inhumane. Rights should not be up for public policy debate.

“This isn’t culture. This isn’t custom. This is criminal.” –Hillary

Don’t mess with lefty hearts and minds across this country. The liberal tendencies of the electorate are going to come roaring out with this kind of overreach. Pretty soon we’ll have feminists and socialists behaving badly all over the place. Not, because we’re all extremists, but because the political dialogue in this country has moved so far to the right, that the radical notions of freedom, equality, and the government needing to leave us alone so long as we’re not infringing on everyone’s rights will be seen as very far left notions.


34 Comments on “Don’t Mess with Us Lefty Women in Texas”

  1. cwaltz says:

    I love those amendments that would force the state to pay for health care and college tuition. Every single pro choicer ought to be offering these type of amendments up. Expose the hypocrisy. If you force a women to give birth then you are responsible for that child’s well being.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      I am going to use this term from now on: pro-life-until-birth to describe these pro-lifers…it is a perfect label for them.

      • Over at a crosspost at my place last week, paperdoll came up with a good one for us nonzygotic, noncorporate persons–

        “former fetus”

      • cwaltz says:

        I call them pro fetus. After the fetus becomes a child and breathes it’s first breath they undermine every single program that could ensure that it becomes a happy, healthy and productive member of society. Cut WIC, SCHIP, housing subsidies, argue over spending for free reduced school lunches, undermine money for public schools and argue about paying the teachers fair wages to ensure you don’t get a great pool of competent educators, cut head start, etc, etc….the list goes on and on for these hypicritical “defenders of children”

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Ha, former fetus, I think I will use that one too! Aren’t these laws crazy CWaltz? I feel like I am in a twilight zone episode.

      • There’s just something fundamentally wrong about these laws. I feel the same way about end-of-life decisions as I do about beginning-of-life. Leave people to make these decisions for themselves and what they can live with. I’m not going to sit in judgment. It’s the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you’d have done unto you and yours.

  2. WomanVoter says:

    Ann Richards and Bella Abzug were my idols, just told it like it was…with such style, grace and laughter. You need laughter to meet the challenges head on.


  3. Branjor says:

    Legislating pregnancy is inhumane

    Not merely inhumane, it’s inhuman.

    Pretty soon we’ll have feminists and socialists behaving badly all over the place.

    Can’t come soon enough for me.

    Great post, Wonk. In addition to all the good stuff within, its title jarred my memory to go check on something I posted about mixed hand dominance!

  4. Minkoff Minx says:

    Magnificent work Wonk! Brilliant post!

  5. jmac says:

    In the eleven years I’ve lived in Texas, my vote has never counted. I live in one of the reddest counties in a red state. But the clash is coming if you watched Rachel Maddow interview Wayne Slater from the Dallas Morning News. A woman in the state legislature introduced a bill to fine any business that hires illegals – with an exemption to those who hire illegals to do work in their homes. Her maid and gardener will be exempt! Slater reminds Maddow that Texas is all about business and the clash between far right social conservatives who dare to hurt business isn’t going to wash for long in this state. The abortion issue isn’t something business cares about either.

  6. TheRock says:

    Now Democrats that do stuff like this are what Democrats are and, on a very tiny level, give me hope that the world is not TOTALLY upside down. This is the type of tactic that we should support. How do we convince democratic members of the house to adopt such a strategy?

    Hillary 2012

  7. Fredster says:

    Oh I luved it! Two thumbs up for those Tx legislators!! 🙂

    The vasectomy amendment had me rolling in the floor.

  8. madamab says:

    Great post, Wonk! I love those amendments. I noticed that several were introduced by men. Way to go, guys! Thanks for your support.

    These tactics should be taken to a federal level. Something like this should be introduced in the House by someone like Carolyn Maloney.

    • Yes! Hooray for the likeminded men.. introducing those amendments were “feminist behaving badly” acts!

      The Jekyll Act — heh 🙂

      Oh and the Paycheck Fairness Act. Maybe call it Jekyll Paycheck Act and declare worker’s rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are workers rights!

  9. mjames says:

    But they can’t have vasectomies, can they? Isn’t that abortion too? I’m so confused.

  10. Branjor says:

    Maybe it would be a good strategy if every time antiabortion legislation was introduced the prochoice legislators would flood them with many such amendments. Wear them out.

    • Excellent strategy.

      I think it would be fun to get a group of people dressed in former fetus costumes asking for their personhood to be protected and asking for a trust fund to be set up for diapers, medical and dental, college tuition.

  11. Just got this in an e-mail from Texas Dem leaders in solidarity with Wisconsin and working families:

    Dear fellow Democrat,

    All across the nation, states are facing serious budget problems. The highly publicized battles in Wisconsin and elsewhere have made it clear that everywhere Republicans are in power, GOP governors are using budget crises as an excuse for their efforts to crush public employee unions while they balance their budgets on the backs of working families.

    Texas Democrats are proud to join the fight to protect the dignity of American workers. The assault on labor in Wisconsin is about much more than collective bargaining rights – it’s about an anti-worker agenda that has finally reached the boiling point. For years, jobs have been shipped overseas, wealth has been accumulated at the top, and the corporate sector has profited while workers have lost purchasing power and economic security.

    For too long, Republicans and their allies have sought to secure power by exploiting divisions among working Americans. The lesson we must learn from Wisconsin is the importance of solidarity. The Texas Democratic Party is proud to stand alongside the Texas AFL-CIO and working families, here in Texas, in Wisconsin and everywhere the rights of workers are under siege.

    We strongly encourage our fellow Democrats to participate in upcoming rallies and events supporting workers’ rights and Texas teachers. For a schedule of events, click here.

    Democratically yours,

    John Patrick
    Democratic National Committee
    Secretary-Treasurer, Texas AFL-CIO

    Linda Chavez Thompson
    Democratic National Committee Vice-Chair
    AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Emerita

    Boyd Richie
    Chairman, Texas Democratic Party

  12. Outis says:

    I hope to see more pushback from all sides for these montrous bills. And yes, we all know, once you’re born, you’re on your own…

    But maybe not. These hypocrites assume all abortions are of healthy, viable children. We’ve let the pro-lifers frame the debate that way. But often, pregnancies are terminated because of health problems of either the fetus or the mother. I just watched an HBO documentary called My Flesh and Blood about a woman who adopts and cares for children with some kind of birth defects. One of the children had cystic fibrosis and obvious brain damage with alarming violent tendencies. He was one of 9 children born to a drug dependent (white–I say this because it doesn’t fit the stereotype) mother who had her first child at 13 and three of whom had cystic fibrosis. All of her children were put up for adoption. Another child had fetal alcohol syndrome. Another was born without legs because her mother did not receive prenatal care. This woman was doing tremendous work to care for all these children, but they were all paid for by the state.

    The point that I’m making is that pro-lifers who encourage women to proceed with unwanted pregnancies and put them up for adoption don’t realize: the state is paying for these right noe. Social services, disability, medicaid, all of those beautiful babies are wards of the state. Now I’m not advocating for euthanasia just because a child might have a disability, but people just think all women who don’t have abortions will birth beautiful, healthy babies that will go on to become billionaires. That once a woman decides or is forced to have her child, she will be able to raise that child. These bills asking for college tuition and health care prove a point but it should be pointed out that we pay for them now.

    I know you all know this, but it just makes me sick.

    • It is sickening. Beginning of life and End of life are personal decisions, and there are so many factors that go into it. This control freak agenda isn’t even about life, it’s about stratification and keeping marginalized people marginalized and marginalizing even more. Wealthy people don’t have to worry — whatever decision they want to make, they’ll be able to make.

      I’m getting really tired of this and very sad that poor women and families have to relive stuff like this everyday to get some freaking justice for themselves and for others.

      We may be so f’d, but the leadership of both parties letting things get to the point where debating laws like this are the order of the day is f’n unconscionable.

      • Outis says:

        You are so right. And maybe, like with the striking unions, people will look around and see that it finally affects them and their family. This isn’t fixing the economy, it isn’t creating jobs, it’s just theatre out of the hides of women. AHHHHHHH!!!!