Gov. Rick Perry may have called another special legislative session to advance his anti-abortion agenda through the Texas legislature, but reproductive rights and health activists aren’t backing down.
And in the House State Affairs Committee yesterday, H.B. 2 (the new designation of what was formerly S.B. 5) was approved by a vote of 8-3. Public testimony during the House committee hearing was officially closed at midnight, which only allowed about 100 people—split almost equally between those in favor and in opposition to the bill—to share their personal stories. A thousand other Texans were still waiting in hopes of testifying.
While a woman’s right to choose is in jeopardy with this draconian legislation, H.B. 2—which will most likely be passed during the 30-day special legislative session called by Perry—puts many health programs for lower and middle-income women in danger. If and when these anti-abortion measures become law, this legislation will not just limit access to abortions but to contraception, cancer screenings, STI testing, fertility counseling and other family planning resources.
But that’s not the story Gov. Perry wants to tell. Instead he says,
Over the past few days the world has seen images of the Texas capitol filled with pro-abortion activists screaming, cheering, drowning out elected officials. Going forward, we have to match their intensity, but we have to do it with the grace and civility and dignity that our cause deserves.
He chooses to ignore that, according to a bipartisan poll from June, 80 percent of Texans do not want abortion to be on the agenda during the special legislative sessions. Only 34 percent said they trust the governor and legislature to make decisions about women’s healthcare.
While it is too early in the special legislative session to determine the outcome of HB 2 and the Senate equivalent, SB 1, Perry has repeatedly vowed to ram it through the legislature within the couple of weeks remaining in the session.
Even if Texas passes this bill, Texan women, feminists and reproductive health activists are changing the face of this fight. The sea of orange outside the Texas Capitol and the sheer volume of media coverage following the now-legendary filibuster by Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis speaks for itself: This isn’t just a fight for women’s rights; it’s everyone’s battle.
You can watch the livestream of the special session here next week and follow @scATX and @andreagrimes for Twitter updates. To tweet about the proposed bill yourself, you can use these hashtags: #TXlege, #SB1, #HB2, #StandWithTXWomen, #StandWithWendy and #feministarmy.
In the face of anti-abortion measures currently flooding the country—see here, here and here—we feminists are feeling both angry and fired up for action. But when we have to catch our breath before the next protest, these telling and humourous quips that Sen. Davis inspired in the past week, are sure to cheer us up.
How about these tweets?
Then there’s Wendy Davis’s Wikipedia page—check out her new occupation.
And on Amazon, the pink Mizuno running shoes Davis wore while she stood for 11 hours got the star treatment:
Photo of Monday protests from Sen. Wendy Davis’ Twitter.