Pro-choice Texas legislators fight absurdity with absurdity

Every year, anti-choicers in state legislatures introduce bills to chip away at the right to abortion, make the procedure as inaccessible as possible, and shame those considering an abortion. Every year, the line on how far elected antis are willing to go moves farther into bold faced woman-hating territory. That’s why I was thrilled to read Amanda Marcotte’s coverage at RHRealityCheck of pro-choice legislators using their own set of amendments to highlight the absurdity, hypocrisy, and misogyny of anti-choice bills.

Last week, Texas state legislators were considering a bill that would force a woman considering an abortion to view a sonogram and then have to wait a day to have the procedure — you know, time to think about her decision, because we all know women don’t think unless we’re told to. That this terrible bill will become law is almost inevitable — the state House and Senate versions just need to be reconciled and Governor Rick Perry has made it clear he plans to sign the bill.

A group of state representatives who were fed up with these sorts of attacks decided they might as well jump on the absurdity bandwagon. State Representative Harold Dutton of Houston introduced three amendments, all of which were quickly tabled: one that would require the state to pay the child’s college tuition if the woman decides not to have an abortion, one that would require the state to cover the child’s health care till they were 18, and when that failed one that wold require the state to pay for health care till the child was 6. And you know what? Those are fantastic ideas! Dutton’s reason for introducing these amendments is spot on:

“We want to see all these children around, but the state of Texas ends its obligation to that child when it’s born,” he said. “We want it born, but we don’t want to do our duty.”

Exactly. Antis care about someone’s life right up until the moment they’re born. Then you’re pretty well screwed.

State Representative Joaquin Castro of San Antonio offered an amendment, also swiftly tabled, that would require clinics that provide abortions to also provide medically accurate information about contraception. Which is hilarious, since these clinics do this anyway, so letting that amendment stand would have changed nothing. But of course it points out the reality once again: antis don’t want women to have any control over their reproductive health — they should just be baby incubators (in the context of marriage of course, since contraception is for sluts).

State Representative Marisa Marquez of El Paso proposed the most outlandish of the amendments, which would let the pregnant woman force the father to have a vasectomy. Do I agree with this idea? Of course not. It’s just as as much of an insulting invasion of bodily autonomy as what Texas antis are forcing on women. And that’s the whole point.

While these amendments were largely a symbolic battle with no chance of actually passing, I am glad to see pro-choice legislators start to use their position to highlight the absurd cruelty and invasiveness of anti-choice bills.

If you’d like to thank these three legislators you can contact Rep. Dutton here, Rep. Castro here, and Rep. Marquez here.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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