All Eyes on Texas

9140788925_5898d68d86UPDATE: Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, said this morning that S.B. 1, the Senate’s version of the anti-abortion bill H.B. 2, could be voted on by Friday afternoon. …

The Texas House of Representatives voted 96-49 to pass anti-abortion bill H.B. 2 early this afternoon. It now goes to the Texas Senate, where Sen. Wendy Davis famously filibustered against a previous version of it.

Davis is currently on a “Stand with Texas Women” bus tour with Planned Parenthood president, Cecile Richards, and other Texas pro-choice activists. The bus will visit major Texan cities to highlight the negative effects that H.B. 2 will have on Texas women.

While the House has only been back in session since yesterday, after taking a long recess last week (because celebrating America’s independence and taking away women’s reproductive rights goes hand in hand), the debate over Texas women’s reproductive rights quickly heated up.

On Tuesday, the House held a tentative vote on H.B. 2, tabling all proposed amendments (all from Democrats) and ignoring thousands of witnesses who wanted to give testimony. The vote was almost entirely along party lines, 98-49 in favor, with only one Republican, Sarah Davis voting against it. Davis said,

Now is not the time to play political football with women’s health. Abortion … is a constitutionally protected right.

The debate on H.B. 2 became particularly contentious when Republican Rep. Jodie Laubenberg—she of the infamous rape-kits-are-abortion comment—graphically described an abortion and placed baby shoes on the podium to represent an unborn child. Then she opposed an amendment that would allow victims of rape and incest to get abortions after 20 weeks. In response, Democratic Rep. Senfronia Thompson and other women House Democrats took to the floor with coat hangers to reference unsafe back-alley abortions. Thompson said

When a person is raped, a woman is raped, they don’t go and see whether or not it’s a Republican woman or a Democratic woman or an independent woman, the rapist just rapes a woman. And I don’t want to force them to have to use a coat hanger [in a] back alley or use a knitting needle or use a feather or take turpentine. I want to make sure that the law allows them that option.

The Texas Senate returned to work the day before the House, just to hear 14 hours of testimony from supporters and opponents of S.B. 1 (the Senate version of the anti-abortion bill). Sarah Slamen, a citizen opponent of S.B. 1, was forcibly removed by state troopers mid-testimony after she and Republican Sen. Donna Campbell got into an argument. Before she was removed, Slamen said

Thank you for being you, Texas legislature. You have radicalized hundreds of thousands of us. And no matter what you do for the next 22 days, women and their allies are coming for you.

A video of Slamen’s testimony and its response is available here.

A livestream of the Senate debate—which will resume on July 11—is available here.

Stay tuned to the Ms. Blog for further updates!

Photo of HB 2 opponents in the state capitol from Flickr user maxacroes under license from Creative Commons 2.0


  1. Thank you Ms. Magazine for giving us even more national coverage. I am proud to be part of these women who are rallying, and who have given women from other states the courage to stand with us. I am especially proud to be a part of this – I fought many of these same battles fifty years ago, and now that I am not as active because of age-related physical maladies, I am proud especially to see younger women fighting the same battles, sad as it is that they have to. I am managing to be somewhat active, but I am just glad the younger generations are stepping up. Cheers, ladies, and the men who back them up.

  2. I heartily thank Ms. Magazine for the continuous coverage on the vital issue of women’s reproductive rights, and their spotlight on the Republican politicians who want to take our rights away. Last night on The Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel did something I hadn’t seen before. She showed a large map of all the states where Republicans control the legislature, and the number of clinics where abortions are provided. In at least one of those states (I forget which one now), the number of clinics has been reduced to zero. The message is clear, to me anyway: “A Vote For Republicans is a vote AGAINST women’s rights.” I think Republican-controlled states have just proved it.

  3. The GOP has become the party to abhor. We may not have felt that way in the past. But this anti-woman stance is very remeniscent of “The Handmaiden’s Tale”. If you haven’t read it, please, do. Soon we will be into forced marriages, burkahs, genital mutilations and marriage of older men to 6-12 yos. Oh, boy. Google any of that, please. Then those who did not fight this fight again may have reason to regret.

    • DDB9000 says:

      Thank you for that, Gwenie. I don’t know how many times I’ve thought of “The Handmaiden’s Tale” in recent years. It is truly frightening how life is imitating art.

  4. Roxanne Needham says:

    The gop has become the old white boys club.mysoginist only need.apply for membership.they have forgotten what century they live in and that the “little woman” will not take there shit anymore

  5. Gail M. Shackel says:

    Whenever I give thanks to Life, I give thanks for MS. Since its inception I have turned to MS for the support I needed to maintain my sanity in a world ruled by people (mostly older white males) who don’t know how to love others as themselves. As Garrison Keillor explained it: “I’m a Democrat because I believe in the Golden Rule.”

  6. Has this S.B.1 finally passed in the TX Senate? I wasn’t able to hear anything about it on the news last night. Then again, maybe I wasn’t listening to the right channels. If this horrific legislation against women has passed, what can women in TX do now?

  7. Wendy Davis is a sweetheart!!! I’m hoping she can keep up the good fight, as both Perry and his friends at Right to “Life” [ until actually BORN! Then ” Cut the SNAP, boys!”] are mobilizing as fast as they can. even though I live in NM, using the addy of an El Paso lesbian bar I go to, I looked up the state rep. and state senators in for El Paso County/City. Both are pro-choice and one of them, a Mexicana-Americano Woman who’s last name is Marquez, is solidly backing Davis; as is the man [also Hispanic]. Many are Catholics, however, both she and he apparently see the reality. That being that, just south of the border in Ciudad Juarez, there are plenty of back-alley BUTCHERS who ” moonlight” as ” abortion doctors”. That said, ” Prick” Perry is a moron and I wonder if Televangelist John Hagee is not one of those ” Prominent Houston [ or wherever in TX] Ministers” he knows????

  8. And may I add that the GOP, that very same party whose Teddy Roosevelt [ and secretly, Lincoln] was for suffrage back in the 1910’s, has really ” switched seats on the Titanic”. They used to be for the Black and Hispanic [ and woman], but now have become ” White America’s Party”; several of whom, particularly the more moderate Republicans [ not ” Base” Repugnants ,like Mike ” Jokeabee”], are fast leaving the party for the Libertarians. Look up ” Koch brothers EXPOSED” on Facebook and, as to whom is backing the Repugs, that says it all!

  9. Conservative Republican politicians know they can’t overturn Roe v. Wade or force women back to their homes by forbidding us to take paying jobs. I have no doubt they want to do this, but legally, they can’t. So it appears that what they have done is to come up with a new, handmaids-tale way of compelling women into pregnancy, in the form of this extremist legislation. In other words, these politicians have denied women access to the means of either preventing or terminating a pregnancy, thus cutting off women’s access to choice in those Republican-controlled states.

    If women cannot prevent or terminate pregnancy because they no longer have access to contraception or abortion, they may, eventually, have to become mothers even if they don’t WANT to be. I have to wonder if the real “reasoning” behind these extremist efforts to restrict women’s access to choice is their desire to return women, however unwillingly, to the nineteenth-century American “cult of true womanhood” or, as Adolf Hitler once put it, to “children, cooking, church.” It has been done in other countries, after all, including Nazi Germany in the 1930’s. We may have been a little too idealistic in believing it could never happen here. I want to see all of these extremist Republicans lose their jobs, at their next state elections!

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