Much of today’s news coverage has been eaten up in discussing Texan State Senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster against the extreme bill before the Texan Senate currently, which would ban abortions in the state that are scheduled for twenty weeks or more after conception. If you’re curious about that, here’s an on-going livestream and blow-by-blow. Given the national reception of this one, I think Davis has become fairly cemented in the public’s mind as the Texan Senator who filibusters questionable Republican policies, which I honestly hope she parlays into further success.
That said, I’m worried about what’s been overshadowed as a result. There’s some clear implications in how Republicans intend to continue governing in Texas from both their actions concerning this bill and others in the past few days. As RH Reality Check has reported, this bill is being pushed through now and within this twenty-four hour period because the Republicans and anti-choice Democrats briefly had the adequate percent of the body to pass the bill with minimal debate. That temporary status is the result of Democratic Senator Leticia Van De Putte being absent as “her father was killed in a car accident on Friday morning and she is attending to family matters in San Antonio today [June 24, 2013].”
Yeah, ew. Right? To take advantage of a colleague’s personal loss to further this sort of misogynistic agenda, that’s some cold blooded political calculation.
(Texan Senator Senfronia Thompson attempting to prevent the Texan Senate from bringing this bill to a vote, yesterday, prior to Davis’ filibuster. She carried a coat hanger to the podium with her. Image from here.)
This is fact not the only instance of rather convenient timing in Texan legislature news in the past few days. Within hours of the US Supreme Court striking down the fourth section of the Voting Rights Act, which required numerous states and counties to clear their voting regulations with federal authorities before implementing them, Texas changed its laws. They’ll be requiring voters to present photo identification, which disproportionately impacts low income voters, voters of color, and younger voters (who are both less likely to own cars and hence have a driver’s license… but also less likely to vote Republican).
Watch those Texan Senators, because goodness knows what’s next in the coming hours as new opportunities immediately present themselves…