AUSTIN, Texas — More than 800 women’s rights protesters crowded into the Texas Capitol on Sunday to watch Democrats try a series of parliamentary maneuvers to stop the Republican majority from passing some of the toughest abortion restrictions in the country.
Democrats, some waving coat hangers to symbolize illegal abortions, passionately spoke against the bill or tried to add amendments to soften it. They started the session pointing to a technicality that delayed voting on any bills for 4½ hours. The forced adjournment burned up precious time, because the session ends at midnight Tuesday and the abortion bill still needs to go back to the Senate for final approval.
The Texas Medical Association, the Texas Hospital Association, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wrote letters urging lawmakers to vote against the bill, saying it would not raise the standard of care. Democrats asked why Republican lawmakers were ignoring their advice.
Republicans used their majority to cut short debate and give preliminary approval early Monday to some of the toughest abortion restrictions in the country as time was running out on the Texas Legislature’s special session.
Many members of the conservative majority had flyers on their desks that read “Psalm 139:13-14,” which reads in part: “You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
The sponsor of the law doesn’t know what a rape kit is:
The bill’s sponsor stopped answering questions about her bill after the first two hours after she got into trouble denying Democratic amendments. When Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, called for an exemption for women who were victims of rape and incest, Rep. Jody Laubenberg, R-Parker, explained why she felt it was unnecessary.
“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out,” she said, comparing the procedure to an abortion.