Last night, the Texas house approved their extremely restrictive abortion bill on provision. This is the third attempt the House has made to pass the bill, the first one failing due to a marathon filibuster by what turned out to be not only by Democratic Senator Wendy Davis, but hundreds of protestors that would not allow the vote to be taken before midnight.
Yesterday's debate lasted over ten hours, among the chants of more protestors, before a party-line vote was cast to approve.
The formal vote is expected today, and then the bill is off to the Senate, of which the Republicans enjoy a majority. The bill is expected to pass there without a hitch.
Basically, if the bill becomes law, it would require doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals close by, only allow abortions to be provided in surgical centers, mandate when abortion medication may be taken, and a wholesale ban abortions after 20 weeks. There is no exception for rape or incest, but there is a provision if the mother's life is in imminent danger.
A statewide bus tour was announced yesterday by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Cecile Richards, the President of the organization, stated,
“It seems like every time women looked up from doing their laundry of helping children with their homework, the Texas Legislature is right there taking aim at them again. Over the past few years, more than 50 women’s health centers have been shut down.”
The rallies and protests continue, however, in spite of the fact that the Texas Department of Public Safety has more than doubled the number of troopers present at the Capitol.
One individual who has been directly affected by the increase in law enforcement is an activist by the name of Sarah Slamen.
In the middle of delivering a forceful speech against the pending legislation, she was interrupted by State Troopers and subsequently removed from the room.
Part of Slamen's speech included,
"I will thank you, though, first. It was destiny that you would discriminate against us and try to force your way inside the bodies of Texas women. Thank you! For finally working against women so publicly, and not in the shadows like you’re used to. Thank you for every single bad press conference with your bad information. Thank you for every hateful statement degrading women and girls to sex objects, and brood mares, and bald eagles, and leather wallets, like your eloquent pro-life supporters have done today.
"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. Let’s start down the line. Senator Campbell, you’re an ophthalmologist. So I won’t be making you the expert on reproductive health. We can give you all the children with chlamydia and herpes in their eyes, since we don’t have Sex Ed in this state."
Here is a video of the proceedings, and the interruption and removal of Sarah Slamen by the police: