Texas GOP's Sophisticated Plan to Pass Special Session Anti-Abortion Bills: Cheating

Vagina demagogues.jpg
Remember how Governor Rick Perry called a special session to talk about redistricting? And remember how sophisticated political observers (i.e. everyone with eyes and a functioning brain) predicted that the special session would soon turn into a huge, nasty dogfight about abortion? Yeah, that's happening. On Tuesday, Perry added "legislation relating to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers and facilities" to the special session call, along with consideration of mandatory life sentences for 17-year old capital offenders.

In a press release late yesterday, though, Perry made it pretty clear which of those issues he's more concerned with, writing, in part:

The horrors of the national late-term abortion industry are continuing to come to light, one atrocity at a time. Sadly, some of those same atrocities happen in our own state. In Texas, we value all life, and we've worked to cultivate a culture that supports the birth of every child. We have an obligation to protect unborn children, and to hold those who peddle these abortions to standards that would minimize the death, disease and pain they cause.

See also:
All Those Anti-Abortion Bills that Failed Resurface in Legislature's Special Session

As we mentioned previously, the anti-abortion bills back on the table are extensive. We've got Bob Deuell's bill to require that every clinic which provides abortions -- or even prescribes RU-486, the "abortion pill" -- to conform to the standards of an ambulatory surgical center. That measure, not coincidentally, would likely force nearly every clinic in the state to either submit to expensive remodeling or shut their doors. Also back is Dan Patrick's Senate bill to drastically limit access to those medical abortions by forcing women to have a sonogram beforehand, take both pills in front of a doctor and see their physician for a follow-up within two weeks -- all things that are medically unnecessary and designed to make medical abortions harder to get, especially for rural women. For his part, Perry is especially bullish on that bill banning all abortions after 20 weeks .

But what's the plan here? This last regular session of the Lege was widely dubbed the "Kumbaya session," marked largely by the fact that nobody on either side had much appetite to fight about things like abortion. All these bills either died in committee or wandered out onto the House and Senate floors and were politely ignored. How do the Republicans plan to make this happen?

In a word: by temporarily changing the legislative rules of procedure. Also known in the vernacular as "cheating." In an interview with the Texas Tribune, Texas Alliance for Life executive director Joe Pojman said, cheerily, that the bills have a much better chance of success because, as Jay Root writes,"[Lieutenant Governor David] Dewhurst has said he plans to suspend Senate procedural rules that give Democrats a strong voice in legislative debates."

That's right. Not because the time has suddenly come to pass new, even more restrictive laws on abortion. Not because the people who elected these legislators are suddenly clamoring for them. But because David Dewhurst has suspended a rule that requires a supermajority vote -- 21 out of 31 senators -- in order to debate a bill on the Senate floor. Without the 21-senator rule in effect, a simple majority can approve a bill. There are 19 Republican senators. As the Houston Chronicle reports, Senator Glenn Hagar also filed an "omnibus" bill containing all four of the most controversial abortion restrictions. In other words, with those pesky rules cleared away, the Senate could now easily pass all of them in one fell swoop.

State Senator Kirk Watson, head of the Senate Democrats, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "There's a reason that bills undermining Texas women's right to choice didn't pass this session -- they were bad proposals."

The ACLU of Texas is also, predictably, quite irritated. In a statement, executive director Terri Burke said, in part, ""These bills added by Governor Perry are so bad the Legislature followed its rules and didn't want to even vote on them during the regular session. The rules of a regular session are there to protect us from extremes. If bills don't make it, democracy wins. The citizens of Texas win. None of these anti-abortion bills even made it to the floor for debate."

Burke added that the special session is expected to cost about $1 million, money that could be better spent on talking about, say, education. Which is clearly ridiculous. Not when there are 17-year-olds to lock up forever and women to oppress. Come on now.


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32 comments
Obummer
Obummer

Yo as long as Sandra Fluke be get’in her free birf controls pills what diff’ do it make?

PersistentID2345
PersistentID2345

Not really any 'locked up forever'. The special session bill specifies 40 years before possible parole as a minimum for 17 year old capital murderers as opposed to the 30 years before possible parole maximum that can presently be given to 17 year olds.

rbtxcat75
rbtxcat75

It's only cheating because you are on the opposite side of it.  I would call the government sending $400 million dollars a year to Planned Parenthood cheating.  I would also call the government forcing states to make  PP a part of their funding or they would be stripped of government funds for women's healthcare cheating.  But again, I'm on the other side of the aisle.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

3/5 Vaginas, mostly because Im still in shock from Eric's morning post about breastfeeding

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

If most rapes of minors are by a relative and go unreported, then those freebee Plan B morning after pills are going to be a Godsend.

for the guilty.

Daniel
Daniel

"... we've worked to cultivate a culture that supports the birth of every child."

While simultaneously working to ensure we have the lowest (or nearly) level of social services in the entire  civilized world. To, you know, support the birth of every child. 

Seriously, conservatives, are you not humiliated by this nattering halfwit?  

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

"...  has suspended a rule that requires a supermajority vote -- 21 out of 31 senators -- in order to debate a bill on the Senate floor. Without the 21-senator rule in effect, a simple majority can approve a bill...."  Which is it? do they need the supermajority to DEBATE the bill or to APPROVE it?  I believe there is a difference.


Also, didn't the US Senate Dems just pull some sort of end around like this to stop a filibuster?  This is what politicians do, they duck and dodge to get what they want without looking like they're the ones wanting to get it.

gregmarcydagama
gregmarcydagama

@rbtxcat75Daniel wrote this comment below. I merely repost as response.

23 hours ago

"... we've worked to cultivate a culture that supports the birth of every child."

While simultaneously working to ensure we have the lowest (or nearly) level of social services in the entire  civilized world. To, you know, support the birth of every child. 

Seriously, conservatives, are you not humiliated by this nattering halfwit? 

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin It's 0/5 vaginas.  This one is old and clapped out.  I bet 80% of it was copied and pasted from prior rants.

It's like an old 80s sitcom "clips" episode where it is all repeats of scenes from earlier in the season.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin I think your 3/5 vaginas is too high.  If the High Priestess of the Vagican is scooped on vag-worthy articles by the Patriarch of Pedaling, her ratings must reflect it.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@ScottsMerkin Me too, man. Me too. Though really, as a dude with a wife and young children, I guess I can concede that Eric knows more about that than me. This is like his third story about breastfeeding recently. Awesome.  

d1101d1101
d1101d1101

@holmantx I guess so if you think that the only way to prove rape is with a baby, you weirdo

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

@Daniel They figure a rise in the infant Mortality rates will bring about  balance  ?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@RTGolden1 It's how they passed Obamacare.  We'll lie about the financials, call it a budget cut, and pass it on a straight majority.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@RTGolden1 The two-thirds rule means that normally you need 21 senators to vote to debate any bill, which has to happen before you can vote on it. It gives the Democrats a small amount of say. Very small. Dewhurst has said openly that he's suspending it to get what he wants and push these issues more quickly to a vote, writing: "I see no other alternative than to operate under a simple majority vote in the Special Session. The Legislature was unable to pass a number of important bills intended to protect and expand the freedom of Texans and cut the size and scope of government."

In January, the senate actually adopted a stronger two-thirds rule. It's usually cited as a way to get a bit of consensus before things come up to a vote. But here, there's no consensus needed, I guess. Just muscle. 

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@everlastingphelps I'm pretty sure I'll get in trouble if I tell you that your vagina is old and clapped out. Which is too bad, because that would've been funny. 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@everlastingphelps @RTGolden1 Ugh, please don't remind me about ACA.  Since it passed, my company sponsored health insurance has gone up over 40%, with a $125/mo increase scheduled for next year.  I had to go online and find an individual plan just to save money.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Anna_Merlan Well, if the Dems had just remembered to call "No Do-Overs" at the end of the regular session, we could be spared all this idiocy.

Chuck_Schick
Chuck_Schick

@Anna_Merlan Still waiting for the Dew to explain how anti-abortion bills fall into cutting "the size and scope of government"

d1101d1101
d1101d1101

@ScottsMerkin @RTGolden1 @everlastingphelps You're all being fucked over, then. My insurance hasn't increased at all. I don't think it's ACA that is doing this, but your insurers. What happened to using the free market to tell insurers they can't treat you like this?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @everlastingphelps yep. my company sponsored insurance plan doubled this year with less coverage, fucking awesome.  And Im hearing it will only get worse next year

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@RTGolden1 Or perhaps "no take-backs." 

If only our legislators had the mental acuity of second-graders. 

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