Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Republican War on Women - The Texas Front

This is the seventh in a series of articles on the subject of women, abortion rights and the Republican Party. 

Republicans continue to say they don’t have to change their core principles, they only have to change the language they use to get their message out.  One perception they want to alter is the idea that they are running a “war on women”.  Looking at the news over the past few years, I’d say the Republican Party has a long way to go on this subject.

  • Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky): “Talk about a manufactured issue.  There is no issue.” 
  •  RNC Chairman Reince Priebus:  “It’s a fiction.”

The Texas Front
the facts:   On Tuesday, near the end of a special legislative session called by Governor Rick Perry (R), the Texas Senate passed new abortion restrictions.  Democrats questioned why Gov. Perry decided to cram this legislation into a special session when the same bill could not make it out of committee during the 140-day regular session.

Senator Wendy Davis (D) thought the rush on the bill was "not about making women safe, this is about political primaries and making sure you're feeding the red meat for the political primaries."
I can't argue with her logic.
Under the new restrictions, abortion clinics will be required to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers.  Legislators also put into effect new measures for how a doctor administers medications designed to terminate early pregnancies.
I'm sure the women in Texas are grateful that their state legislators are there to help doctors who might not have learned how to administer medications in medical school.
The clinic design requirements--wider hallways, large storage rooms, specifically-sized, larger examination and procedure rooms--have been called totally unnecessary by doctors.  This requirement would cause 32 of the 38 Texas abortion centers to close because of the cost of complying.

Republicans claimed that these new requirements were designed to improve care.  Senator Jose Rodriquez (D) asked "So doesn't it have the practical effect of limiting access to care for women instead of improving it?" Senator Bob Duell (R) answered that abortion is a "lucrative" business that can easily afford updating their centers.
That's a Republican for you...everything always seems to come down to money.
Mr. Duell also said the bill should pass unanimously.  It was all about closing "substandard clinics".  
He couldn't name any substandard clinics, nor did he have any facts to support claims of substandard care; but, as we see over and over again, facts aren't big on the Republican agenda.
A provision sponsored by Senator Glenn Hegar (R) that would have prohibited abortions after 15 weeks was dropped from the bill.  This is the Senator who appeared to claim that male babies masturbate: "Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful....If they're a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to think they could feel pain?"  

The medical community has debunked this "pain/pleasure" claim.  Yes, fetuses move, but the medical community agrees that at 15 weeks, the central nervous system is not developed enough for movement to be purposeful and sensation of any kind is not possible.

Mr. Hegar's altered his ban to 20 weeks and it is still before the Senate as a stand-alone bill.  A similar ban was recently struck down in Arizona when a federal appeals court declared it unconstitutional.
The apparent unconstitutionality probably won't stop Republicans from trying to pass it anyway.  If there's one thing the GOP is good at, it's wasting legislative time.  (Just look at the U.S. House.)
The Senate's bill now moves to the Texas House which has less than a week left before the special session ends.  The House has yet to schedule the bill for a committee hearing.
Let's hope the House has more sense than the Senate and lets this issue die. I don't hold out much hope though.  As Ms. Davis said:  "'s all about "red meat" and "political primaries."

The Republican War on Women is "fiction"?


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