July 9, 2013
A couple of days ago, a friend gave me my new favorite T-shirt. It reads:“A foregone conclusion has never stopped a group of citizens committed to ideals of democracy and liberty from taking a stand and fighting with everything they’ve got.
“This is Texas, baby. Remember the Alamo.”
Yes it is. Yes we do. And here we go. I hope you got some rest over the Fourth of July weekend, because it’s going to be a busy week.
Bad bills, and a road trip
Yesterday, a Senate committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 1, the latest version of a bill that would threaten women’s health and their rights by limiting their access to constitutionally protected health services.Today, the full state House of Representatives is taking up House Bill 2, an identical bill that was approved last week by a House committee after fewer than 100 of the 3,543 folks who registered their position on it were allowed to speak
Regardless of how one feels about the bill itself, those in control of the Capitol can do much better in listening to Texans and hearing how they feel about this issue.
So this week, we’re going out on the road.
We’re taking part in a bus tour to get out into Texas communities and discuss what this legislation will mean for Texans. This is in line with our request – which, as of yet, has not been granted – that the Senate hold hearings around the state
to make it easier for Texans to talk and learn about this issue.On the tour, we’ll also discuss several bills we’ve filed
that will protect women while reducing abortions and unplanned pregnancies in Texas. You can learn more about those bills here
At the same time, those in control of the legislature are moving fast to ram this very bad bill through the process. A lot can change over the next few days, so keep an eye on my Facebook page and Twitter feed for updates.
Connecting the dots
Watching this debate and the outrage it’s created among Texans, it’s clear that folks are surprised, both by the radical philosophy represented in these bills and the utter disregard for basic rules and traditions among those who are working zealously to pass them.Frankly, this shouldn’t be a surprise. You just need to connect the dots to see how consistent this is with how those in control run the legislature.
Just in the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen rules being flouted, traditions being chucked out, and common sense being ignored – all so those in control could get their way and pass a bill that won’t do much to prevent abortions, but will do a lot to prevent legal ones.
That injustice is hardly confined to this bill.
Injustice lets budget writers slash women’s health funding when money gets tight. It shuts down essential women’s health clinics to make a political point. It lets the Governor veto a bill that simply ensures women can pursue equal pay for equal work under state law. And it stops – over and over again – efforts to reduce abortions by reducing the unplanned pregnancies that lead to them.
Injustice also afflicts our kids when they sit down in an overcrowded classroom. It wears out working parents who can’t find health coverage for themselves or their kids. It rewards corporations with tax breaks while shortchanging schoolchildren and commuters.
And injustice plagues our democracy when deals are cut and games are rigged in back rooms that our citizens never see.
A flash point, and a tipping point
So what’s unique about Senate Bill 1, House Bill 2 and the schemes to pass them isn’t the injustice that all of this represents.It isn’t the deception and denial that allows this issue to be put ahead of priorities like strong schools, infrastructure investment and access to higher education – priorities that will have an unmistakable impact on Texas’ future.
It isn’t even the ruthlessness with which those in control are trying to pass this legislation. After all, when folks have gotten used to getting their way for so long, they sort of come to expect that they’ll get away with things.
No, what’s made this such an emotional flashpoint, and maybe even a tipping point, is that it’s such an immensely personal issue.
Why we care
Texans understand this legislation. Pretty much every single Texan, all 26 million of us, either is a woman or loves a woman – a mother, sister, wife or friend.So most folks get what it means, to themselves and people they care about, when big government forces legal providers to shut their doors and a frightening black market sweeps in to fill the void.
They understand when big government strips away or restricts constitutional rights that have been guaranteed for generations now.
And they’re rightly offended when there’s more to hear or more to say about this critical issue, but those in control just cut off the conversation.
Never stop standing
As bad as this legislation is for Texas and Texas women, it’s almost certain to pass. Those in control have pretty well rigged this second special session to make sure it passes.What they don’t know, or maybe just don’t care about, is that this is only the beginning. Texans don’t like seeing women’s health jeopardized or their rights limited or taken away. And when those who’ve had too much power for too long start openly abusing that power, Texans push back.
We’re proud of Texas. But Texas can do better. We stand with Texas women. And we’re not going to stop fighting for them.