If you’re not following the situation in the Texas legislature, a Texas-sized drama unfolded last night and early this morning. The TX State Senate was voting on SB5, a pro-life bill that drew attention from around the country. Even President Obama tweeted during the action.
First, let me tell you what SB5 does not do. Contrary to the pro-abortion media and activists, women won’t die and abortion will not be banned in the state. What the bill would do is stop all late-term abortion after 20 weeks, well after science has established the baby feels pain. It would also require that abortionists have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles. SB5 seeks to protect women’s health by bringing all abortion facilities up to a standard level of medical care required by other outpatient surgical centers.
If you’re wondering what’s all the fuss about; if you’re thinking this bill contains common sense, mainstream provisions supported by a majority of Texans, you’d be right. However, Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry oppose any protective restrictions on abortion throughout pregnancy. Recently, we were horrified to witness a Florida Planned Parenthood lobbyist sanction infanticide if the baby wasn’t wanted by the mother. SB5 was introduced during a special session called by pro-life Governor Rick Perry. All bills had to pass by midnight last night when the session ended.
Planned Parenthood et al were incensed and put all their muscle behind squashing the bill—including the women and babies it sought to protect. Even Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood and daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards, flew in to put her weight behind the opposition.
Angry pro-abortion activists swarmed the capitol and gallery above the Senate floor. Most wore orange to signify which side they were on. State Senator Wendy Davis planned to hold a filibuster until midnight to scuttle the bill. However, there are tight rules regarding a filibuster. If a Senator breaks these rules 3 times, they’re out and the filibuster ends. The third infraction occurred with about an hour remaining on the clock for all legislation to be passed.
When the Senate ruled that the filibuster was over, pandemonium broke out in the gallery. The ensuing chaos was reminiscent of the Occupy hooligans. According to State Rep. Steve Toth who was observing the action, the mob was in-part being directed from the Senate floor. Here’s one of his tweets during the melee. “Texas is given over to Wisconsin style Mob-ocracy. Sad day when politicians whip the crowd in to a frenzy so a vote can’t be taken.”
Imagine if the tables were turned and a pro-life leader like Father Frank Pavone or myself had sent a tweet like that to our followers. It would have been soundly condemned and the media would’ve painted us as radicals who justify anything for the desired result. We would’ve been castigated for inciting lawlessness.
Other witnesses to the unfolding chaos posted their own tweets:
State Rep. Linda Harper-Brown tweeted, “Senate in total chaos. Can’t vote on bills due to gallery out of control. No one can hear to vote. Disruptions illegal preventing floor…”
Mike Ward, a political reporter: “No order in Senate. Chair can’t hear over jeering from gallery. Senators can’t vote. Never seen anything like this.”
The bedlam escalated into violence by the unruly mob of pro-abortion advocates. Mike Ward tweeted, “Protestors arguing with troopers in gallery. One person arrested after trooper was punched, say Senate staff.” Other pro-life observers cited additional acts of violence. In the end, time ran out and SB5 didn’t pass.
The ugly and violent demonstration was so bad it alienated senators on the floor. The Texas Tribune reported that State Senator Jane Nelson, who supported SB5, said she was ashamed of the display by SB5 opponents.
(CORRECTION: Jane Nelson is pro-life and was a bill sponsor. Language misidentifying her has been deleted from the story that originally apperared here).
So where do pro-life Texans go from here? Many are calling on Governor Rick Perry to right the wrong and overrule legislation-by-mob by calling another special session to get a final vote on SB5 since it represents the beliefs of a majority of Texas residents. Perhaps that will have happened by the time you read this. I hope so.
Regardless of how this turns out, I have the utmost respect for the pro-life Governor, state legislators and advocates who went to the mat for Texas women and their babies. They’ve set the bar high for other states to follow. I pray their courage and tenacity will be contagious among other governing state bodies.
LifeNews.com Note: Bradley Mattes is the executive director of Life Issues Institute, a national pro-life educational group. Mattes is a veteran of the pro-life cause, with over 33 years of educational, political and humanitarian experience.