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Republicans Push Anti-Abortion Bill Through House Committee

by Published on
Tx Rally, July 1, 2013.
Jen Reel

On Monday, Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) warned that he would end testimony on House Bill 2, the sweeping anti-abortion bill, at midnight tonight no matter how many people wanted to testify. He said the House Committee on State Affairs might vote on the bill. And that’s exactly what happened.

Shortly after midnight, Cook put the bill to a vote and it passed on a 8-3 vote. More than 1,000 people who had signed up to speak were cut off. Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) was left sputtering that he had amendments he wanted to propose to the committee. “You know you’re wrong,” he said to Cook. But the Republican plan for this second special has been obvious: Use their large majorities in the House and the Senate to muscle the bill through and avoid another star-making moment like the Wendy Davis filibuster.

Tonight’s hearing was theater. The author of HB 2, Republican Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, studiously stuck to her script, reading from prepared remarks or responding to questions from Democrats on the committee with terse responses focused on “the health and safety of the woman.” There wasn’t going to be any “rape kits” goof tonight.

Testimony on the bill ranged from the heart-breakingly personal to the completely bizarre. (One man said he knew of a woman’s get-rich-quick scheme whereby she would encourage high school girls to get pregnant and then provide them with abortions. Her goal was to make $1 million at a rate of $25 profit per abortion. Another man, in favor of HB 2, established his bona fides by telling the committee that he was a “professional juggler” and “sidewalk angel.” Yet another man complained that his sister getting an abortion deprived him of the chance to be an uncle.)

Meanwhile, anti-abortion activists and some Republican lawmakers worried that Satan had gotten personally involved in the debate.

All in all, though, it was a pretty tame and carefully stage-managed night considering the high drama of the past week. That’s almost certainly a win for the Republicans, who would like to pass House Bill 2 with as little drama as possible.

Up next: HB 2 goes to the full House for a vote.

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is associate editor of the Observer. Forrest specializes in environmental reporting and runs the “Forrest for the Trees” blog. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.

  • SoberMoney

    These Republicans clearly despise women. They see women as cattle that can be forced to undergo animal husbandry techniques so they can feel powerful. Clearly right wing women like Donna Campbell have very low self-esteem if they go along with these hypocritical big government policies.

    These anti-abortion laws are really there because these evangelical fascists don’t want women having sex. And they hate freedom of choice. It’s a sickness.

    • JimmyJusticeUSA

      what about the women who see their babies as cattle and can be murdered at will for their pleasure

      • SoberMoney

        JimmyfakeJustice, you are the type of man who treats women like cattle. Why are there no anti-penus legislation being proposed. Why are there no repercussions for the men who impregnate the women who want an abortion?

        And why are you and your hypocritical right wing ilk not stepping up to offer to adopt these babies – or pay the necessary taxes to help women survive who cannot work if they have the baby?

        You and your kind want these pregnant women to be forced to have unwanted babies but then you call them welfare whores when they need public support.

        And if children’s’ lives are so sacred, why don’t you call George W. Bush a baby killer for all the Iraqi children he killed with his bogus war?

        And “murdered at will for their pleasure?” If that’s what you really believe, you are one pathetic jerk.

        • JimmyJusticeUSA

          I can see no other reason to kill a perfectly healthy child other than being a complete psychopath without any shred of empathy

          • SoberMoney

            Yeah, except you don’t want to take any responsibility for them once they are born.

            You and ilk don’t want to pay taxes for social services, sex education in school, child care for single mothers so they can work and get off government help, pregnancy prevention education other than unrealistic abstinence programs.

            Get in the real world – and stop listening only to the same chatter from your Fox News bubble.

          • JimmyJusticeUSA

            First off there is a waiting list for newborn adoptions so every “unwanted” baby is ready to be brought into a loving family.

            Lets talk about the irresponsibility of abortion. I am somewhat sympathetic to the woman who doesnt want to get pregnant and her birth control fails but she it not the norm for the abortion industry.

            45% of abortions are from women who didnt not use any birth control in the last 30 days and 50% of abortions are repeat customers. Where does the personal responsibility come in?

            Liberals always talk about the responsibility of gun rights, where is that thought process for sex?

            It is the parents responsibility to raise their child not the states. We can not afford for the govt to play parents because the state is very ineffective and limited by a ban on teaching religion.

            So no I dont wish my tax dollars to go a program that refuses to teach kids the truth. Even “perfect use” birth control has a failure rate, if you have sex enough times you WILL get pregnant birth control or not. Ignoring that responsibility is unconscionable and the ability to kill your own offspring to avoid responsibility is monstrous.

            How anyone can call that liberty is beyond me, it is the opposite.

          • SoberMoney

            I think you’re making up your own facts about abortion. Print your specific sources for the “facts” that you quote above.

            You can have your own opinions – but not your own facts.

          • SoberMoney

            And regarding gun rights, if the NRA wants its supplicants to have unlimited rights to kill people with unfettered access to guns and ammo, then why should you anti-abortion extremists object to women being able to abort unborn children?

            Your logic is very hypocritical. Big government restrictions that insult responsible gun owners should be consistent with big government restrictions that insult women. You twist your arguments to suit your values – which are based in male right wing distort ions.

          • JimmyJusticeUSA

            Because you are to lazy and ignorant to find the facts for yourself you claim I am lying until I prove it.

            these are from the Guttmacher Institute which is run by Planned Parenthood. So you can not claim conservative bias.

            “About half of all U.S. women having an abortion have had one previously.”

            http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/10/2/gpr100208.html

            “Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant.”

            http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html

            Meaning 46% did not use birth control. I guess I was wrong about that I said 45%

          • SoberMoney

            First of all, JimmyInjustice twists the quotes around to fit his own distorted reality. Here is what the Guttmacher Institute really emphasizes:

            “The two-thirds of U.S. women at risk of unintended pregnancy who use contraception consistently and correctly throughout the course of any given year account for only 5 percent of all unintended pregnancies. The 19 percent of women at risk who use contraception inconsistently account for 43 percent of unintended pregnancies, while the 16 percent of women at risk who use no contraceptive method at all for a month or more during the year account for 52 percent.”

            So instead of our big government hypocrite Republicans passing repressive laws that insult all responsible women, these political nimrods should be simply promoting contraception education for the 16% of the women who account for 50% of all abortions.

            But sadly, these limp member right wing men (and their self-loathing women) can’t stand women making reproductive decisions on their own.

            It is men like JimmyInjustice who create ignorance and simple solutions.

            And btw, the Guttmacher group has not been part of Planned Parenthood for decades. More manipulative lies by the right wing fake fact bubble.

          • LeticiaMDenver

            So, in your way of thinking, if a married couple wants to have sex and their birth control has a known failure rate and they are under employed or are at risk of losing their jobs, they should refrain and not risk a pregnancy?

            And I don’t think you actually read those facts, I think you picked through them and found ones that you could twist to your way of thinking. Reading those pretty much contradicted every right wing argument I’ve ever heard.

          • JimmyJusticeUSA

            Sex has consequences and killing your own children to skirt them in the name of “do whatever feels good” is barbaric. In Texas we actually care about women. We don’t feed off their blood lust as a way to make profits and disguise it as “liberty”. The constitution protects life, abortion destroys it. They are not compatible.