July 12, 2013
As Texas Goes, So Well May Go the Nation
The eyes of the entire country certainly are upon Texas as the showdown between the pro-life and the pro-abortion forces will play out on Friday, possibly even into the early morning hours of Saturday. If the pro-aborts can derail the omnibus pro-life bill in this strongly pro-life state, the entire dynamics of the pro-life agenda will change.
RECAP AND WHERE WE ARE NOW
Here is a recap of what has happened in Texas: No pro-life bill was passed in the regular session, so pro-life Governor Rick Perry called a special session and included pro-life issues on the call so that they had to be reconsidered by the legislature.
Unfortunately, the Texas Senate and House passed different versions of an omnibus pro-life bill in the waning hours of the special session (which could only go for 30 calendar days). A liberal pro-abortion Democrat State Senator filibustered and when the filibuster was ended in correct parliamentary procedure shortly before the midnight deadline to pass any bill, an unruly pro-abortion mob which had gathered in the gallery overlooking the Senate chamber and even spilled out into the hallways, began shouting and chanting, urged on by Democrat Senators on the floor and Ann Richards of Planned Parenthood outside the chamber. Some were even urging “Rush the floor! Take the floor!” They were so loud that order could not be restored in time to conduct the vote (which the pro-life Republicans would win) before the midnight deadline. You have probably seen videos of this mobocracy in action, derailing the legislative process.
Almost immediately, Gov. Perry called a second special session right before the July 4th holiday. So for the last ten days, thousands of pro-aborts wearing orange (coincidentally the color of the University of Texas whose main campus is only blocks from the state capital) paraded, have been shouting and generally behaving in a discourteous fashion to the pro-lifers who had been asked to come and wear blue by the bill’s author, Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (shown here in Republican red.).
Both sides showed up in force last week for the House State Affairs Committee hearings on the bill, which will:
- Increase safety standards for 36 licensed abortion facilities to the the level of ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). There are 420 ASCs in Texas, including six that perform abortions. We believe all abortion providers should be held to that level of safety.
- Require the 18,000 RU-486 abortions performed each year in Texas be done according to FDA safety standards.
- Require physicians who perform abortions to be qualified to treat life-threatening complications after botched abortions by having privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility, and
- Ban abortions on unborn children beginning at five months of pregnancy, when scientific evidence clearly shows babies can feel pain.
House Hearings Ended Before All Could Testify
The House hearings ended at a pre-determined time, some nine hours later, at midnight last week, with only a small minority of those present testifying. Among those allowed to testify were representatives from various pro-life groups (including RNC for Life) as well as many from the pro-abortion ranks. There were definitely more “oranges” than “blues” in the capital that week but not as disproportionately as it had been the previous week during the filibuster. Rep. Laubenberg stood strong during those hearings, not allowing any amendments to the bill and graciously answering questions posed by the pro-abort Representatives on the Committee. However, many of their signs and shirts had vile messages. (If you are easily offended, you may not wish to use this link to see some signs – disgustingly made by mothers for their young children to hold.)
One pro-life leader estimates that the “oranges” predominantly were either from out of state or from the university, and many were paid. (Ads on “Craig’s List” were seeking protestors and activists for salaries ranging from $1500 – $3000 a month! The “blues” overwhelmingly were volunteers there at their own expense.) Many of the “oranges” were polite to the “blues” but some were not. Christians were mocked in song and words and a writhing, chanting double circle of “oranges” surrounded a small group of “blues” at one point in a rotunda area as the pro-lifers were praying aloud and silently. Some of the “oranges” were chanting “Hail, Satan” and making vile gestures.
But no one was in any real physical danger as the state troopers were in full force and plain sight, unlike at the Senate vote the week before where the orange mob shut down the proceedings.
What Has Happened This Week
This week started off with a positive bang as a huge pro-life rally was held Monday night at the capital, featuring Gov. Huckabee and other celebrities. (See photo below.)
Thousands from all over the state poured into Austin, forming a virtual “blue sea” on the capital’s south steps, as shown above. Several churches sent vans and buses filled with pro-lifers.
YMCA KICKS OUT STUDENTS FOR LIFE
Additionally, Students for Life brought a bus full of students from all over the country, and they were being housed by some friendly churches who allowed the students to sleep on their gym floors, and the local YMCA had agreed to let the students clean up and shower there each morning. But the pro-aborts got wind of that small hospitality, and bullied the YMCA into evicting the students!
Monday morning, the Senate began its hearings on the companion bill carried by Sen. Glenn Hegar, the state Senate’s youngest senator. The lines to register to speak began forming before the capital opened at 7 a.m. and were hours long. The Health and Human Services Committee convened at 10 a.m. and pro-life Chair Sen. Jane Nelson was calm, cool and gracious as the hearings went continuously until 6 a.m. the next day!
At one point, an “orange” speaker began to individually harangue the senators on the Committee, one by one. She ignored the Chair’s gavel to desist, and Sen. Nelson had her removed by the state troopers in attendance as she continued to scream her venom as they carried her out, in Occupy – style. Sen. Nelson released the following hearing statistics:
- In total, 3,863 people registered testimony, with 1,780 registering for the bill, 2,076 against and 7 as neutral.
- 477 people registered to provide oral testimony, of which 357 actually provided oral testimony.
- Of those who provided oral testimony, 137 people registered for the bill, with 218 against. There were 2 neutral resource witnesses from the Department of State Health Services.
- 514 people provided written testimony to the committee, including those who also gave oral testimony.
- Of those who provided written testimony, 105 people registered for the bill, with 407 against. 2 people provided neutral written testimony.
- 3,155 people provided registering-only testimony, of whom 1,577 registered for the bill, 1,575 against, and 3 as neutral.
Meanwhile, back in the Texas House, the preliminary vote (under Texas law, a bill will have two votes taken on the floor) was beginning on Tuesday morning. There were more than 20 amendments offered by the Democrats, each designed to nullify part of the omnibus bill. Time after time, the Republicans remained strong and finally, in the Wednesday early morning hours, the bill passed. Later on Wednesday, it finally passed on the final vote, 96-49 and was referred to the Senate.
Now the Texas Senate, under the leadership of pro-life Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, will consider the bill on the floor Friday afternoon, beginning at 2 p.m. and it is expected that both the “blues” and the “oranges” will be out in full force to fill the gallery for this final vote. Once it is passed, it will be sent to Governor Perry who has promised to sign it immediately. Since it is too early in the session for a filibuster to prove effective, the only tactic left to the Democrats is to boycott the proceedings, denying the Republicans a quorum to do business. However, it is likely that at least one Democrat senator could be persuaded to take part and that would be all that is needed for a quorum. Furthermore, there are still two important issues on the special session’s agenda: a criminal justice bill and transportation legislation so some observers believe the Democrats won’t risk boycotting the session when those two items have not been deliberated.
Watch the Vote Via Live Streaming
If you would like to watch the floor debate and vote beginning at 2 p.m. central time on Friday, use this link to do so. This may even go into the wee small hours of Saturday morning, but the live streaming will carry the entire process.
In the meantime, Texas pro-lifers ask that our counterparts throughout the country pray for our success and tweet to show us your support using this:
Thanks for standing with us as we make an Alamo-like stand for life. But there is a difference – we will win in the Texas Senate!
Next week’s E-Notes will have the conclusion to this important fight for the sanctity of life in one of the country’s strongest pro-life states.