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Texas just won't stop messing with abortion rights

June 26, 2013|By Carla Hall
  • State Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) celebrates with state Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth) after her 13-hour filibuster ran out the clock on a vote on an antiabortion bill. Gov. Rick Perry said Wednesday that he will convene another session of the Texas Legislature on Monday at which the bill will be heard.
State Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) celebrates with state Sen. Wendy… (Getty Images )

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis’ valiant effort to prevent a vote on an overly restrictive state abortion bill apparently succeeded only in blocking the vote Tuesday night.  Republican Gov. Rick Perry announced Wednesday that he would call another special session of the legislature for  Monday.

Davis, a Democrat, managed to filibuster for 13 straight hours on the Texas Senate floor Tuesday night, eating up precious minutes as the clock wound down on the legislature’s special session, which expired at midnight.  Davis, in a dress, long jacket and pink gym shoes, stood for hours to thwart the Republican-dominated state Senate from passing the bill, which would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of gestation.  The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a woman has a right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, which is usually about 24 weeks.

The bill also would have required abortion clinics to meet the standards of hospital-style surgery centers, which is unnecessary, according to experts. 

Perry said in a statement Wednesday: “We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do.”

I’m all for decorum, but the only breakdown in decency here is on the part of a governor and a state legislature that would pass a bill designed to circumvent the already constitutionally allowed right to an abortion. Of course, they have plenty of company. Various other state governments have been trying to whittle away at abortion rights, and some have passed laws so restrictive that they’re under court injunctions temporarily blocking them from being enforced.

This is not an issue for the people of Texas to decide, as Perry and some of the state legislators seem to believe. This issue has already been decided by the Supreme Court, and it guarantees women across the United States the right to a safe and legal abortion. That means women in Texas too.

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