Texas Abortion Bill Back Before The Legislature, And It Will Pass This Time
The Texas Legislature is putting up its controversial abortion bill again, but don't expect things do end the way they did last week.
Less than a week ago, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis won national attention, including invitations to several of the Sunday morning news shows yesterday, for engaging in a 13-hour long filibuster that ended up successfully blocking the passage of a bill that would have banned most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. Considering the overwhelming majorities that Republicans have in both Chambers of the Texas Legislature, it was a classic David v. Goliath story that was sure to garner the national attention that it did. Now, though, the Texas Legislature is already back in session after being summoned by Governor Perry for the specific purpose of taking up once again the very bill that Davis had successfully blocked only days before:
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Thousands of demonstrators descended on the Texas Capitol Monday, the majority expressing their opposition to new abortion restrictions that a Democratic filibuster and raucous protests derailed last week.
Lawmakers convened a new special legislative session aimed at reviving the bill that would limit where, when and how women may obtain abortions in the state. Supporters say it will protect women’s health and fetuses, while opponents say it is designed to shutter the state’s abortion clinics.
More than 5,000 demonstrators gathered at noon to oppose the new abortion restrictions as television stars and Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks rallied the cheering crowd.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, the Forth Democrat whose filibuster in the last session helped catapult her into the national spotlight, told the crowd that their support helped her maintain the effort.
“You were at the crux of a turning point in Texas history,” Davis said.
The rally on the Capitol’s south steps was the largest seen in Austin for years.
Opponents wore orange T-shirts and prepared for a rally with national women’s rights leaders. Supporters wore blue and recited the Lord’s Prayer outside the Senate. The measure’s supporters were scheduled to hold their own rally later Monday.
Horse-mounted state troopers and police from as far away as Houston watched. More than 100 state police, many carrying helmets and truncheons, staged inside the Capitol building and newly erected crowd control barriers funneled visitors away from the entrances to the House and Senate chambers.
The Legislature’s Republican majority has vowed to pass wide-ranging abortion restrictions quickly and easily this time.
“The world has seen images of pro-abortion activists screaming, cheering,” Republican Gov. Rick Perry said. “Going forward, we have to match their intensity but do it with grace and civility.”
Lawmakers finished their regular session on May 27, but Perry called them back immediately for 30 more days to approve, among other things, the tight new limits on abortion.
On the first special session’s last day, however, Davis of Fort Worth was on her feet for more than 12 hours — speaking most of that time — as Democrats used a filibuster to help kill the sweeping abortion bill.
As the midnight deadline loomed, Republicans used parliamentary technicalities to silence her, but hundreds of protesters in the public gallery and surrounding Capitol corridors cheered so loudly that senators on the floor weren’t able to hear, and the bill died as the clock ran out.
As Sean Sullivan notes, however, nobody should realistically expect things to turn out the same way this time around:
One major reason Republican plans to pass the measure — which would would ban abortions after 20 weeks and require doctors to have hospital admitting privileges, among other things — in the previous session were foiled: Time was not on the GOP’s side. Gov. Rick Perry (R) added the abortion debate after the session was already underway. This time, he’s established it as a priority from the outset.
“In the last session it was handled very poorly [by Republicans],” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. “There was a coordination problem across the board.”
By the time the measure was on the verge of a vote last wee, Davis was able to stall it by launching a filibuster spanning more than 11 hours. She won’t be working with a similar timetable this go-round.
“[Republicans] have given themselves the time to make mistakes and get it passed,” said Matt Angle, a Texas Democratic strategist and longtime Davis supporter.
Davis’s blockade quickly went viral online last week, and protesters flocked to the state Capitol to support her cause. In the end, they won a substantial — if temporary — victory, and Davis became a national figure in the larger debate over abortion.
But a byproduct of her effort was that Republicans quickly resolved to redouble their efforts to pass the bill. Perry has guaranteed it will become law, and the stakes couldn’t be higher for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R), who picked up yet another primary challenger last week. State Sen. Dan Patrick became the third Republican to enter the race against the incumbent, kicking off his bid with a jab at Dewhurst’s handling of the abortion bill.
“If in some way Dewhurst doesn’t get this legislation through, he won’t even be able to to run for reelection,” said Jones.
Republican majorities in the Texas legislature ensure the numbers are there for Dewhurst and Perry to pass the bill. The measure passed the state Senate by an almost 2-1 margin last week, but the tally was rendered inconsequential because it came too late.
In the last special session, the abortion bill was one of a number of pieces of legislation up for consideration in the thirty days that the legislature had to get its work done. Not only that, but its passage was put off until the very end of the session, which made it easy for Davis to use the State Senate’s rules to block the bill successfully notwithstanding the GOP Leadership’s last minute efforts to utilize parliamentary maneuvers to push the bill through. This time, the abortion bill is the only piece of legislation that the legislature will be considering, and they’ll have thirty days in which to get it passed. The odds that Davis or anyone else will be able to engage in any tactics to stop the bill are fairly low. Indeed, Davis herself has already said that she will not attempt to filibuster the bill this time around, largely because she knows that this will be an utterly pointless exercise. Instead, it appears that the session will be used by Texas Democrats as an organizing tool and an effort to bring the issue to the forefront of political debate in the Lone Star State. Of course, given that this is Texas, I’m not sure what good that’s actually going to do. There’s even talk in some Democratic circles of Davis running for Governor in 2014, where she’d face either Perry if he runs for re-election or, most likely, Dewhurst if he does not. Of course, no reasonable observer of Texas politics believes that she’d actually have a chance of beating either one of them given the current electoral makeup of the Lone Star State.
Indeed, as Sarah Kliff notes, recent polling suggests that a narrow majority of Americans support banning abortions after 20 weeks except when maternal health is at risk:
Kliff also notes that 12 other states have already enacted laws similar to the one under consideration in Texas, although three of those state laws are currently barred from being implemented due to a Court challenge. Other legal challenges have been less successful. So, in the end, you can expect this bill to pass the Special Session quite easily. Where it goes from there depends on the Judge(s) before whom any legal challenges ultimately end up. Wendy Davis made a name for herself with her epic filibuster but, in the end, she was really just temporarily delaying the inevitable.
The law does a lot more (damage) than just bannong abortions after 20 weeks. It also puts on such restrictions that will eliminate all but 5 clinics in the entire state. Those five remaining clinics are in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and two in Houston, leaving none in west Texas or along the border. Someone who wished an abortion, even well before the 20 weeks unscientific “deadline”, would have tod rive hundreds of miles to get the procedure performed.
@SKI: Instead of closing, the clinics could always, you know, start sterilizing their instuments and stuff.
@Pinky: I’m sure you have some citation to support you’re allegation that the clinics to be affected didn’t sterilize their equipment. I’m guessing not.
Pretty cavalier there, Doug. Of course, you don’t have a vagina, so what’s the biggie, amirite?
If the GOP thinks waging a war on women’s reproductive rights is a long-term winning strategy, they are more blinkered and damaged by the use and abuse of male enhancement products than recently known.
At least Doug is recognizing that there are civil rights battles out there other than SNOWDEN! Apparently not worth fighting, though. Ms. Davis and the Democrats should have just bowed to the inevitable.
I have no objection to requirements that abortion providers have to keep their centers up to outpatient surgery standards or that providers be required to have privileges.
It was this lack of oversight that led to the Gosnells type atrocities where women weren’t receiving safe care.
I also am not sure why this law means all the centers close-they simply have to upgrade their standards to meet the requirements of the law-it isn’t a mandate that they shut down.
I am curious what these clinics lack with regards to the law that they at unwilling to upgrade to and why peoplenthinknit is fine for them to operate with that lack if they assume I are for safe abortions for women.
I also think that abortion past 20 weeks in most cases is unnecessary.
@ Just Me
Well of course what you think should be the deciding factor in major life decisions for total strangers. It’s always nice to have a “small government” conservative weight in…
Given that these cases often involve conditions of fetal abmormality threatening the health of the mother, I’d argue these are most necessary, but I’m sure you’ve thought all that through. You seem very thorough and considerate.
I wonder if Perry will muster the same grace and civility with which he allowed an innocent man to be executed.
For once, try to see it as people in Texas do.
Ask yourself this: Who knows more about a woman’s reproductive health care choices and a decisions than a male legislator?
When the requirement is admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, there is no other option. This is the breaking point in the law. There is a reason they call them ‘regional’ hospitals here in Texas…
Where I am, in rural East Texas, I do have a hospital within 30 miles, but the closest clinic is already more than 30 miles away from said hospital. What should women in my area do? Drive to Dallas (2.5 hrs away) or Houston (3 hrs away) ? And with the other restrictions and ‘must do’s, this means multiple trips I would imagine.
It is already a fact that when health care money was stripped last time, it led to many new pregnancy’s that will ultimately cost the state money, and has. Compounded by the fact Texas is also turning down the Medicare expansion.
I am just in awe at the GOP’s insistence of regulating the decision of so many Texas woman. It’s pathetic, really!
Often? Stats on that?
And doesn’t the law have an exception for those cases?
It may well pass but Rick Perry is playing a dangerous game. He doesn’t want anyone to mess with Texas. Well, women don’t want him messing with their right to choose. That red state may soon be turning purple if not completely blue. Texas women are not going to stand for these ridiculous laws. God knows how any woman in Texas can possibly be a member of the Republican Party. They must have sawdust for brains!!
You mean their lawfully-elected legislator doesn’t have a say in health care? That’s pretty radical of you. I guess you not only oppose Obamacare, but Medicare too.
It’s always telling when someone who does not support their own arguments with data demands it of others…
You should probably show us where he said that, or admit your reading comprehension is not very good.
(1) Yes I duly acknowledge that their (Texas’) lawfully elected male legislators do have a say in determining a woman’s reproductive health care choices.
(2) I was initially opposed to Obama’s ACA because it did not include a public option, and because I preferred (and still do) a Single Payer Health Insurance system. I support the ACA now, because I believe the exchanges and the mandate can work.
@anjin-san: He said “Who knows more about a woman’s reproductive health care choices and a decisions than a male legislator?” I assume he was speaking facetiously. But the implication of his question is that somehow a male legislator can’t represent a female voter.
I do think a male legislator can adequately represent his female constituents, to some degree, I do not think he can adequately make her reproductive decisions at any degree.
While you may think a male legislature can impose moral values, do you not think a woman can make this type of decision on her own? Is this not fair representation?
Or do we go back to the 1850’s and take all decisions away?
It’s critical we increase regulations to abridge the rights of women and protect the rights of the unborn…so that they can die by un-regulated gunfire or un-regulated factory explosions.
Do you ever know what you’re talking about or do you just spew whatever B.S. is skimmed off the top of the pig shit lagoon better known as the Republican Zeitgeist?
@Just Me: Do you think Hospitals should be mandated to grant privileges to all board certified physicians?
@Pinky: Sterilizing instruments and stuff is not what is being proposed. Are you misinformed or are you lying?
This is the particular aspect of recent Abortion legislation in a number of states that no one is talking about. The current strategy to shut down all rural abortions via these geographic restrictions.
They have *nothing* to do with oversight or medical restrictions. They have everything to do with finding the right formula for mileage to ensure that the highest number of clinics fail to meet the base standard to continue operation.
I was going to say that I really feel sorry for the wives of these republican legislators , and not just because they are married to these assholes. But, if history has taught us anything…pro-lifers have no problem trying to enforce laws for everyone else and not following them themselves.
Whoa, they just blinked again and postponed vote til July 9th.
What I said was: “Who knows more about a woman’s reproductive health care choices and a decisions than a male legislator?”
What I should have said was: “No one
Whoknows what’s best for a woman and her more about a woman’sreproductive health care choices and a decisions than a male conservative Republican legislator ?
“To say that most women choose abortions is misleading. They do not choose to be among the 3% of women for whom birth control fails. They do not choose not to be able to access birth control in the first place, and they do not choose to be born into communities where they are deliberately prevented from learning about it. They do not choose to be raped or abused, or to be left in poverty by their partners with other mouths to feed. They do not choose to have fetal anomalies, life-threatening infections, or late-term fetal demise. These things happen, and when they happen, women make decisions, because we have to, because our bodies are on the line.”
Does Texas get blamed for everything?
“God Bless Texas” great song and video by Alan Jackson. Watch it and you will feel a whole lot better.
I thought government was too big! Yet here comes Rick Perry wearing chaps, holster and cowboy hat dictating to women how they should live their lives! Government is NEVER too BIG when it comes to Republicans using their power in government to push through their agenda! The backlash will have Rick Perry rocking back on those stirrups. He may even get hog tied if more protesters show up. Giddy up and get out of dodge Rick!
@Pinky: “Instead of closing, the clinics could always, you know, start sterilizing their instuments and stuff. ”
@Just Me: “It was this lack of oversight that led to the Gosnells type atrocities where women weren’t receiving safe care.”
Reason # 1,655,934,213,000 why I am profoundly grateful that I do not live in Texas.
@becca: This isn’t a war on women’s reproductive rights; it’s a war for the unborn’s existence rights.
@al-Ameda: There are three Republican women and four Democratic women in the Texas Senate, along with 12 Democratic men and 19 Republican men. Please list which ones are capable of representing the women of their districts. While you’re at it, please tell me which women are too stupid to vote, since they’re clearly voting for conservative Republican men for the Senate.
Let’s be honest here. The purpose of these laws is both oversight and inconvenience. It’s foolish to pretend otherwise. If a clinic wants to continue to operate, it might have to move a few miles, as in Greg’s example. It might have to move anyway, in order to upgrade its facilities. There are medical complications in 2-5% of RU-486-induced abortions. Would you really want to send your daughter to a clinic that didn’t meet state surgical standards?
Not even wading in. It is impossible to have a rational discussion about abortion.
I will say this though: to be small government “conservatives”, these people apparently have no qualms about expanding the role of government when it comes to imposing their values onto the lives of other people.
$100 says that the same folks who are so hair on fair vehement about inserting the state into the reproductive choices of others would raise holy hell about Social Services investigating their own parenting.
@socraticsilence: I just have to say it’s hilarious that someone with the name “Socratic silence” would write an obscenity-laced partisan rant.
Nah, I’d say that the purpose of these laws is pretty blatantly to limit the options available to women, in the hopes that if they can make it inconvenient enough, women will just forgo abortions altogether. Ultimately, and I don’t think any of you will refute this point, their goal is to foreclose the option altogether.
Example? Mississippi, which has a single provider left in the entire state – and which the state is doing everything in its power to legislate out of business. Likewise Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota.
The appalling irony is that these states also tend to have the highest rates of both illegitimate and teenage births. What these people are doing is, frankly, disgusting.
Short version? They figured out that they weren’t going to be able to overturn Roe, so they just decided to make the right impossible to exercise. Same outcome, different means.
@HarvardLaw92: Not really. I’ve never met anyone who wants to regulate the reproductive choices of others, per se. It’s not the future mom they’re looking to regulate. It’s the future child they’re looking to protect. The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness aren’t exactly calls for big government.
I think you can have a rational discussion about abortion if you bring rationality to the table. Casting the debate in one side’s terms doesn’t help.
150 years to the week after the Battle of Gettysburg, and we are still fighting a civil war.
Sorry, non-sequitur. You can’t protect anything that wouldn’t otherwise exist absent you forcing the mother to carry it to term.
The bottom line is that you can’t achieve your goals, whatever they may be, without forcing a woman to do something with her own body that she doesn’t want to do. You’ve made the decision that the rights of the mother can be obliterated in favor of the rights of the fetus.
Not buying that, sorry.
Bull. The “oversight” is an excuse. Notice how all of the arguments Perry’s been putting forth in the last couple weeks have been why abortion is wrong, not about the surgical standards.
Oh come on. First of all, they’re going to have to get admitting privileges at a hospital (and how many hospitals are going to grant that to a doctor who wants to be able to perform abortions in Texas?), and then they’re going to have to move to within 30 miles of that hospital. Which will leave large swaths of rural west and south Texas without any clinics at all. Second, do you have any idea how expensive it would be to relocate their business, as well as upgrading the facilities to the standard of an ambulatory surgical center? Most of these clinics will not be able to afford that type of move & upgrade.
If the alternative is having all of the local clinics close and have to drive hundreds of miles multiple times (part of the new law requires a follow up 14 days later at the same clinic) in order to be able to get an abortion at all, I’d prefer the status quo.
Also as an aside, how many other states require abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center standards? I know that my state certainly as hell doesn’t.
Yes, I do realize that there are conservative women who do vote against the idea that women are capable of making choices and decisions concerning their reproductive health.
However, I stand by my comment: “Who knows more about a woman’s reproductive health care choices and a decisions than a male legislator?” Because you know as well as I do that conservative male legislators are generally busy restricting or limiting a woman’s right to make decisions concerning her reproductive health. Legislatively, conservative men are taking action to limit a woman’s right to choose.
@Pinky: Let’s be honest here. The purpose of these laws is
both oversight andinconvenience. It’s foolish to pretend otherwise.
In terms that even a Republican can understand: reducing access to abortions will increase the number of back-channel providers. In other words, by making it harder for women to access this (constitutionally protected) right, you are virtually guaranteeing more Gosnells.
Women will not stop having abortions simply because you make it harder for them to get, they will seek out that which is accessible to them, safe or not. As far as the safety, safety mantra: baloney. This is not about safety. Giving birth presents a fourteen times greater risk for death or injury than a surgical abortion. This is not about protecting women.
The “pro life” side should refocus their efforts on reducing the number of abortions–but that means working for and advocating better, cheaper, and faster access to effective birth control.
It’s not my rules that make it that a fetus is dependent on its mother. It’s just the way things are. But that fetus is a separate entity with a unique, human genetic code, and I just can’t think of a way to not consider it worthy of protection.
@Pinky: Plan B is levonorgestrel and is considered safe enough to be taken at home. RU-486 is Mifeprestone, a completely different drug. You are lying with statistics. And and abortion clinic doesn’t have to have the same surgical standards as a hospital because it’s not performing the same surgeries as a hospital.
You know who doesn’t need to meet surgical standards? My dermatologist, despite the fact that they can lop off moles willy nilly. It doesn’t mean they have dirty needles and rusted equipment. It means they only perform minor, outpatiet surgery. You know, like an abortion.
And you elide both the requiring a clinic to move and the admissions piece as no big deal,as though abortion doctors and clinics are not controversial and as though Texas isn’t large and desolate.
If you were truly confident in your position, you wouldn’t have to back it up via mendacity.
@Pinky: “It’s the future child they’re looking to protect”
Sure. Just as long as it stays a future child. Once it’s born, then it’s on its own. Slash food stamps, slash aid to families with dependent children,slash unemployment benefits, slash school lunches and breakfasts, slash funding for public schools, and pour money into the private prison business.
Why don’t right-wingers try helping out people who are actually alive for once, instead of desperately trying to control the future of a handful of cells? Why don’t they try protecting an actual living child?
You mean like when you call yourself pro-life (who isn’t?) instead of the more appropriate term; anti-choice.
You mean when you argue that life begins at conception…when that so-called life is only a single-celled organism?
The anti-choicers entire argument(s) is logically inconsistent..cognitively deficient…irrational…which explains why you cannot have a rational discussion with them.
@wr: WR – If you want to change the subject to social assistence programs, feel free, but it’s changing the subject. We could talk about how social assistence programs relate to abortion: that’d be a little off-topic, but fine. It’s just that arguing that I’m inconsistent is pointless, given that you (apparently) hold the opposite positions on both scores, leaving you open to the same accusation.
The way things are, eh? Guess what, male sperm is vital to the creation of human life. It’s a separate substance containing your unique, human genetic code. Would you be OK with a law regulating what you could do with your precious, life-giving sperm?
I see this issue on straight equal protection terms. What would happen to a proposed bill requiring that before a man exercised his reproductive choice, he would be required to have a metal tube stuck up his anus as part of a non necessary medical procedure? .Actually, such a bill would not be even proposed, much less discussed and voted on. Yet transvaginal probe bills are being proposed and voted on right and left by “pro lifers”.
OTOH, if men could get pregnant, there would be abortion clinics on every corner, free contraceptives would be a constitutional right, Plan B pills would be sold in the supermarkets along side aspirin and Alka Seltzer- well , you get the idea.
@Sam Malone: Sam – The terminology is an example of how each side tries to frame the argument. Personally, I have no problem with each side choosing its own designation. Pro-life, pro-choice. Neither side is “anti-” anything, by those labels. I don’t think “anti-life” is fair, nor do I think that “anti-choice” is fair. I also don’t use the terms “baby-killer” or “fundamentalist woman-hater”.
No it’s not! This is basic health class stuff.
Why? Do you really think this is about controlling women? You’ll notice in the original article, there are the results of a survey showing that women are more pro-life than men.
Look…reasonable people can have a discussion about when life begins.
But the idea that it begins at conception is just not intellectually honest.
Sperm and the ova are both single celled organisms and contain dna. Am I an evil person because I rubbed one out in the shower this am and wasted all those potential lives?
Consider twins. The twining process begins after conception. Which twin deserves protection? If they both deserve protection…then isn’t it wrong not to twin all embryos in order to maximize their potential human life?
Let’s have a reasonable discussion…but that doesn’t mean you can be intellectually dishonest and call it reasonable.
Anti-choice is perfectly fair…because that is exactly what you want. You want to eliminate the choice that women have. Stop pretending it is anything different.
Someboy flunked 8th grade biology class. Actually, life does begin at conception (or fertilization as it is also known). Not just for humans, but for all mammals. And, a single-cell organism is, in fact, alive. We know this because…SCIENCE!
Sam and Stone – Sperm and ova have DNA code in them – half of a person’s; code that corresponds exactly to the man/woman that generated them. A fertilized egg has a full person’s set of DNA, distinct from either parent’s, half of each of them. It’s the same code that they’ll have when they’re 80. It doesn’t exist in anyone else. It’s a distinct human. I’m not calling for regulations that would require every sperm to be paired with an egg, or every fertilized egg to have voting rights, or a woman to be penalized if the fertilized egg fails to naturally implant. I’m calling for nothing unnatural like mandatory cloning. I’m saying that to interfere with the natural process is to extinguish a unique human being.
You say a lot…but they are your opinions…and if your opinions are based on mis-information…then they aren’t worth a lot.
but the egg cannot be fertilized without that sperm…so according to your illogic life begins with the sperm and the ova.
to say otherwise is to simply draw an arbitrary line in the sand.
and if you are drawing an arbitrary line…then it is by definition…arbitrary.
Your sperm DOESN’T contain your unique, genetic code? Republican biology strikes again….
These laws are exactly about controlling women. Note that there are no laws ANYWHERE controlling male reproductive choice. That lots of women agree with laws controlling women doesn’t change the nature of these laws.
my point…and what you fail to acknowledge…is that conception is a process. it is not a definitive point in that process. if a zygote should be protected…why not the sperm and the eggs for they form the zygote. the zygote will potentially become a person who will then potentially become a corpse. should we also treat the zygote as a corpse?
a skin cell can become a person. should we protect skin cells?
in order to have a reasonable discussion both parties have to be reasonable.
life beginning at conception is not a reasonable… or even logical…position. it is meant soley to limit a womens choices.
really? how many men are anti-life???
I’m afraid that the natural process ship has sailed. Contraceptives, in vitro fertilization, hospitals, C Sections, ultrasounds-nothing is “natural” about any of this.
And during the natural process, many pregnancies end in miscarriages, technically called “spontaneous abortions”.
To me the issue is simple. What right does the government have to dictate health care choices concerning the bodily internals of any human being? Why should the fact that women can bear children override their freedom to decide their health care choices?
only an infinitesimally small number of zygotes go on to become real living breathing conscious people.
statistically speaking we should say life ends at conception.
Where do you get your information? Conception, or fertilization, is the definitive point in mammalian reproduction. Eggs and sperm do not change, grow, divide, or develop. Zygotes do.
A skin cell can become a person? What the hell?
Wrong again! Approximately 31% of conceptions end in miscarriage.
Let me try a different tack:
What is the scale of the alleged problem that is to be solved here?
How many abortions are after 20 weeks now? How many of those are done because it has been discovered that the fetus is non-viable (this happens)?
[I know, this ignores the stuff that is designed to hinder or outright shut down clinics]
As with any governmental solution to a (alleged) problem, it makes sense to figure out the scale of it before you haul off and go after it with a sledgehammer. This goes for us all, whether liberal or conservative.
Last I saw, something like 1.5% of abortions are “late term.” I forget the cutoff week, but IIRC it was around 20.
This law seems to be taking the position that a fetus at 20 weeks of gestation has developed to the point where it has a right to life that trumps a citizen’s right to be rid of it for any reason. I think that’s early, particularly given the common timing of the quad screen test*, but I’m not opposed to the general idea of treating pregnancy as a process. A zygote is one thing, an 8-week fetus another, and a 20-week fetus another. There are vast changes that go on. Of course, SCOTUS recognized that in Roe as well.
But come on. How many pro-lifers are actually going to be satisfied with a 20-week cutoff? This (coupled with the “oversight” restrictions) is just part of the long war to get the whole thing banned.
* – this is the one that gives you an idea as to whether or not the fetus might have serious defects, including those that make it non-viable. The timing isn’t set in stone, but in both of my wife’s pregnancies the test was done at 18 weeks. If it had shown an elevated risk of such a defect, there’s more testing to be done. A hard cap at 20 weeks means either the testing needs to back up or some not very nice things are likely to happen (e.g. forcing women to continue to term with a fetus that is going to die within hours of birth).
What’s that work out to per annum?
Well, I guess with the continuing drop in violent crime, the police will need other things to do…
If the egg doesn’t form…no zygote…so that must be a definitive point. If the sperm doesn’t reach that egg…no zygote…so the formation of sperm must be a definitive point. If the zygote splits to form twins that’s another definitive point. Implantation is another defininitive point…no implantation…no more zygote. The odds of any of this happening is slim…so to base anything on this roll of the dice is ridiculous. But when you are a zealot you will leap at anything to rationalize your zealotry.
I appreciate the point of view, but it doesn’t take into account the fact that there is another human being involved in an abortion. This isn’t a skin cell or an ovum, it’s a unique set of DNA in a cell that naturally would progress to something we’d all recognize as a human being.
The “natural” part is important. The analogy is end-of-life care. We can argue about the degree of extraordinary care a society should provide, but we agree that ordinary care is obligatory. (Don’t we?) In the same sense, we don’t call a medical team to revive a skin cell, or to implant its code into an egg. We should, for consistency’s sake, not allow for termination of ordinary care for the fetus. Garvrilo nais it: “Conception, or fertilization, is the definitive point in mammalian reproduction. Eggs and sperm do not change, grow, divide, or develop. Zygotes do. “
the failure of a zygote to implant is not considered a miscarriage. zygotes become embryos become fetuses. miscarriage refers to embryos or fetuses…again…just part of the process.
if over 30% of embryos miscarry on their own…how many zygotes do you think never actually become embryos and are carried away in menstration? is a woman guilty of murder if a zygote fails to implant?
again…if we are to have a reasonable discussion…you have to be reasonable.
No, I’m not a zealot. I just paid attention during biology class in middle school. But hey, good luck turning your skin cells into people.
Again…an opinion not supported by the facts in evidence.
I guess you have never heard of embryonic stem cell research.
MIGHT…might in one out of how many chances…progress to an embryo…that then has a 30% chance of miscarrying according to another anti-choicer here.
@Pinky: “If you want to change the subject to social assistence programs, feel free, but it’s changing the subject.”
You claim you have the right to control the most intimate parts of the lives of women you’ll never come within a thousand miles of simply because you care so much about little children. But the fact that you don’t give a damn about what happens to these children after they’re born proves that your real interest is in controlling the sex lives of strangers. If you care about children, you care about the ones who are born. I don’t see how that’s “changing the subject.”
If you want to argue that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is not a person and, therefore, does not enjoy any rights? Fine. But, don’t try to argue the science. You are obviously way out of your depth.
the difference is potential versus real.
they seemingly only care about potential children…no matter how slim the potential.
f’ the real kids. let them shoot themselves with un-regulated firearms.
I never argued that. again…if we are going to have a reasonable discussion then you have to be reasonable…and that includes not putting words in my mouth.
I simply said that birth does not begin at conception… and to say so defies logic…which you have kindly helped me prove.
@Gavrilo: That’s a old study re: fertilization and miscarriage rates. More recent studies point to a 40-50% rate of failure to implant. A fertilized egg is not a life. A fertilized egg that successfully implants has the potential to develop into a life.
Dude, I was trying to help you out. Intelligent pro-choice people make the personhood argument because they understand that, scientifically, life (not just human life, but most animal and plant life) begins at fertilization. Trying to argue that life doesn’t begin at fertilization is ridiculous. It does. If you tried to make your argument in a biology class you would fail!
And yes, it should be obvious that “life” and “personhood” are not the same thing.
The whole “it’s ALIVE!” argument is nonsensical. Which is why you get “fetal personhood” bills – because “alive” ain’t good enough.
Now. If you want to argue that a zygote is a person, you may do so, and I will laugh at you.
[The fact that we’re arguing over zygotes indicates that my claim above is correct: a 20-week cutoff will not satisfy the pro-lifers*]
* – in this thread, anyway. National stats indicate some room for nuance.
So twins only constitute one life?
Sucks for them.
Again…you defy logic…as do most zealots.
And therein lies the underlying truth of the matter – this isn’t so much about protecting children as it is about salving your moral qualms regarding abortion.
The thought of the procedure (and what it involves) makes you uncomfortable, and in order to mitigate that discomfort you’re prepared to dictate to other people, specifically women, what they can and can’t do with their own bodies.
While tangential, the whole “after they are born” thing does bring the above assertion into specific relief. Pro-lifers tend to be scope locked on the fetuses being born. Once they have been, though, they’re on their own and no longer your problem.
Could there be any more of a cognitive dissonance than conservatives who are adamantly pro-life, but who also vehemently oppose social programs like welfare, WIC, SNAP, etc?
I just don’t buy the “it’s about the children” song and dance. It’s about YOU. Your needs. Your discomfort and your subjective morals, which you are overlaying onto other people’s lives seemingly without much of a concern about the consequences.
Excuse me? Fact? Based on what?
Just a guess: that you treated the idea of discussing social welfare programs for kids as an off-topic annoyance, as opposed to an issue that follows clearly from your desired policy change. Actions have consequences and all that.
BS. There is absolutely nothing scientific about just making an assertion, and saying that it’s correct because you asserted it. “It does” is not a scientific argument for why life begins at fertilization.
When does life end? What is our current scientific definition of the moment of death? When the heart stops? When the brain activity stops? Respiration? When all 3 are stopped?
Stop trying to sound definitive when you’re talking out of your rectum.
@Pinky: Rob from CT answered before I had a chance.
Ben, would you grant that after fertilization, a cell / cell cluster exists which is (a) human in its genetic code, (b) separate from any other human being despite being inside one, and (c) able to feed and grow?
Item c) is what gets you in trouble. It is able to divide, but cannot “feed” until after implantation.
Look, scientifically, I think the best description that you can get to for the fetus is ” potential human being.” However you describe it, the question is what point do the rights of that “potential human being” override the rights of the fully human being hosting the fetus to make a decision to continue or terminate the pregnancy? Why should be decision maker be not the woman who will have to carry the potential human being to term, and who will be charged with raising the child after birth for 18 years? Why should the decision maker be rather a state government which will ignore the child two seconds after birth, and stigmatize the unwed mother as a “welfare queen” to boot? Would YOU take that deal? I’d like an honest answer to that.
@Jen: The fetus may not be feeding yet, but it’s fully functional to do so. I mean, I’m not eating right now, but I’m alive. (This sounds vaguely like an ad for The Cooking Channel – “You’re not alive unless you’re eating.”) There are, I forget, maybe six conditions for a thing to be labelled “alive”, and a fertilized ovum meets all of them.
“I also think that abortion past 20 weeks in most cases is unnecessary.”
Yes, that’s true! And that is why very few abortions are performed after 20 weeks. The ones that are are generally for awful, tragic reasons — danger to the life of the mother, severe fetal abnormality, an abused minor who was afraid to tell a parent. Nobody chooses to wait five months for an abortion for the heck of it. THAT is exactly why it should not be outlawed as a sweeping generalization. Every case is unique and usually every case is heartbreaking. So legislatures should just get the heck out of this issue.
I also want to add that while this will make obtaining an abortion harder for women in rural Texas, as somebody said above, the people it will actually hurt the most are of course poor women. The wife of a wealthy rancher will be on a plane to California if her health is in danger. But a poor woman — the one who really could use good pre-natal care, maternity leave, health care for her children, SNAP support — she’s the one who is well and truly screwed by this bill and the others like it in other states.
I never cease to be appalled by how America shows NO support for actual maternity, relative to the rest of the world; it only attacks and shames pregnant women who would rather not be mothers.
@Pinky: Wrong. It is not a fetus yet. Zygote first, then blastocyst, which is when implantation occurs, and, importantly, that is when it begins to receive nourishment. This is also when hormonal changes can be detected, which is why pregnancy tests DON’T WORK until after the blastocyst implants. In short, you do not have a pregnancy until the blastocyst implants. You have a fertilized egg, which, up to 50% of the time, passes through a woman’s cycle without ever becoming a pregnancy.
The embryonic phase ends at around 10 weeks after fertilization. That is when fetal development begins.
You don’t seem to have a grasp on the appropriate terminology to use at each stage. Simply calling a blastocyst a fetus does not improve your argument.
I’m sure an amoeba or a pumpkin meets all those conditions, mate.So alive doesn’t get you very far. The issue is does the rights of a zygote override that of a sentient human being hosting the zygote to make a medical decision concerning their own body? Does any man have to dispute with the government any medical decision concerning HIS body?
This was my point exactly above. I’m glad we are on the same page!
@stonetools: You wanted an honest answer, and honestly, I don’t think your description is realistic at all. About 15% of the US population is on food stamps; there’s not this great social stigma on “welfare queens” that you imagine. And it isn’t exactly The Scarlet Letter out here, with women being driven from their villages for being unwed mothers. The government provides assistance for food and shelter, and free education, and there’s always the possibility of putting the child up for adoption. As for whose rights win out, the right to not get killed has got to win every time.
@Jen: You’re right, I was sloppy with my terminology. I don’t see how the cell/s can be described as not alive, though.
I’m afraid you avoided giving an honest answer.
First of all, do you truly think that there is no stigmatization of the unwed mother, especially the unwed mother on welfare? Then you must be posting from an alternate universe.
Republicans have been using the welfare queen myth to stigmatize unwed mothers-especially minority mothers-since Ronald Reagan invented the “welfare queen myth” in 1976. The Republican presidential candidates trotted it out last year:
Says you about Texas, which has among the stingiest safety net in 50 states.
Again, what right do you have to insist that a woman carry her pregnancy to term? Would you take the deal I outlined above? The answer seems to be NO, you’d rather not have the government make these decisions for you. Talking about Hawthorne, the right not to get killed, and adoption are obvious side steps, really.
@becca: if you read the chart, 50% of women are against abortion as well as 1/3 of democrats. so who’s declaring war on whom? 5 months is ample time to care of it, like getting pregnant is the worst thing that can happen from unprotected sex,,,,,
Reading thru the comments above you see the inconsistency.
Anti-choicers say this, this, and this. Then when pressed they say well not that but this. And not that but this.
It’s reasonable to think abortion should be legal, safe, and rare.
It’s unreasonable to think life needs to be protected even if it has only a teeny tiny chance of viability and that there is no responsibilty for the result of that policy decision. But that’s there argument.
And just to clarify the fact that this is about abridging rights and not potential children check out NC and abortion law being linked to sharia law.
Why only limit one groups rights when you can get two.
@C. Clavin: 5+ months is beyond “teeny-tiny” viability, my son was born at 24 weeks- all of 2 pounds – and is doing well. true it should be rare, it shouldn’t be easy to the point that you don’t even think about the repercussions of unprotected sex with someone who won’t support you at any level. our bodies come with a responsibility, it’s a 2 way street. i won’t even get into the “black genocide” issue, the dems sure know how to keep the black population low and in line.oh well, i said it.
Cool. I will not insist they get abortions – they have the right to make their own reproductive decisions. All I ask in return is that they recognize that right in others.
Conservatives are working hard to put an end to that, no?
Somewhere between 50 – 70% of fertilized eggs (or human beings, as some consider them) either do not implant or end in miscarriage, usually without the woman ever knowing she was pregnant. If fertilized eggs are human beings, then nature kills most of us off before we even become fetuses.
About 1% of tadpoles become frogs. Usually less than that for fish. 1 in a thousand sea turtle hatchlings make it. Human men see billions of sperm fail to produce a human in their lifetimes. Most “life” is simply not supposed to make it past gestation, no matter what we do. There is a lot of waste in nature.
If you have no central nervous system, no thought, and no feeling, you are nowhere near a human being. You might make it there, but there are no guarantees, and you probably won’t. It’s kind of an exclusive club.
If there ever was a case for either increased access to contraception or safe and easily obtained abortions look no further than the absolute failure of Nebraska’s safe haven law that lacked an age limit. When people from all over the country were abandoning children in at least one case aged 17 there is a problem.
This just highlights the lack of solid options due to the gutting of the mental health care options in this country. But I’m sure Texas has a strategy for dealing with an increase in spending to help single mothers and low income children get health care. Oh wait Texas opted out of the ACA which increases the amount paid for less people to have access to Medicaid which will in fact remove some of the most vulnerable from the Medicaid rolls. Maybe they will switch and teach comprehensive sex ed, where teenagers are 60% less likely to get pregnant. And since the states that teach abstinence only have the highest teen pregnancy rates and have been shown to discourage contraception use. Nah those are both too hard and make baby Jesus cry since he believes in rugged individualism. The easiest thing to do is just pass a few laws to limit abortion rather than try to prevent it in the first place.
@Dave D: well, we don’t force anyone to live here and enjoy it! they could all just move to cali or the wonderful northeast for jobs and opportunities….lol.
It’s sad, really. You made what was basically a reasonable post, and then you closed it with this nasty horseshit. You just can’t help yourself, can you?
Sincere congratulations on your son doing well after having been born right at the edge of viability. I’ve seen such kids in the NICU (both my daughters were early – 34 and 36 weeks), and it’s definitely touch and go for the really little ones. Not all make it, and not all who make it make it without lasting problems.
There are reasons for not having a bright line rule at 20 weeks, and those have been pointed out in this thread. If a law were crafted by people who actually gave a sh*t about such things, it’s possible it could be a decent, just law. It also probably wouldn’t change much of anything, because basically nobody has an abortion after 20 weeks just for “convenience.”
So much heat, so little light.
@stonetools: I didn’t try to avoid the question. I’m sorry if I did. Could you rephrase it maybe?
Why is there no outrage over this?
Because it is a natural occurance. No reasonable medical or surgical effort can prevent it.
excellent point. my comment about teeny-tiny viability was regarding the arbitrary line drawn at conception.
18 weeks or 20 weeks or 25 weeks…that’s a discussion reasonable people can have.
you are correct…it is a two-way street…you also shouldn’t have to bear the burden of raising an unwanted child for 20 years because a condom broke.
to bad you had to f’ up your comment by going racist on us. unfortunately for the rest of us the reasonable part was the part that was out of charachter.
God’s will, right?
There seems to be some ambivalence concerning the pro-life position.
@al-Ameda: As I said, the analogy is to end-of-life care. Some things you can’t fix. Some things you can’t fix without putting old people’s heads in jars Futurama-style or installing motion detectors inside uteruses. The principle of “do no harm” applies, as well as doing what’s reasonable to prevent harm.
The job market is doing pretty well in my corner of California. Quite a few six figure positions available.
@greg: The goal of the Repugnicans is to eliminate all abortions. (Roe v Wade prevents them from doing that.) They ALSO don’t want to let the poor have health care—that’s why they rejected the extended Medicare. They only want the poor to slave for the rich and have babies to replace those poor that die.
@William Wilvgus: Do you really believe that? There are a few crackpots on the Rght who believe such terrible things about the Left, but on this site at least it seems like half the Left really believes that the Right is evil (or some other word like “evil” if the religious connotations of that word bother you).
This site is moderate compared to almost ANY of the comment blogs out there. Here at OTB? As to which side is more vituperative and sees the opposite ideology as evil? It is no different here than anywhere else in this country – the Right is far more negative and caustic than the Left, it’s not equal, and saying that “both sides do it” does not make it equal.
Well then, I won’t bother to mention that Conservative Bill Bennett was caught winking and nodding on the same subject, back in 2005:
Let’s paraphrase, “you could … but it would be wrong, but … crime WOULD go down …” Honestly, that can hardly be beat as a freudian slip by Bennett, and who knows how many other conservatives share that view. But, I won’t go there, won’t even mention it.