Gov. Rick Perry (R) is doing a Texas two-step with the truth: His attempt to ban abortion by unnecessary clinic regulation is both bad medicine and bad social policy.
As a young woman standing in this intersection of misogyny and conservative strong-arm politics, I am deeply troubled.
On Monday Perry called a special session of the Texas senate to discuss HB2 and SB9, bills that would have dramatic consequences for women's reproductive rights and health. SB9 restricts abortion-inducing drugs, while HB2 threatens standard practices, procedures, providers, and facilities at abortion clinics. Ultimately, these drastic stipulations make it nearly impossible for clinics to operate. If these bills pass, 80 percent of Texas abortion clinics will be forced to close their doors.
So, what's wrong with these bills?
First, there are no medical grounds for the proposed standards. Republicans seem to be under the impression (or using this argument as a guise for their true motive) that the current standards regarding abortion clinics are not up to par, and introducing these restrictions is helpful to women's health. However, they fail to recognize the lack of evidence supporting the need for higher standards, and that eliminating 37 of the 42 clinics will only hinder women's health.
Moreover, the overcrowding in the remaining clinics, the women without the means to get to those clinics, and the lack of resources available to those clinics will ultimately result in more women suffering.
If they truly believed this was about women's health and safety standards, supporters of these bills would call for these measures to be implemented over a time span, allowing for clinics to make the necessary changes, without having to just close their doors to hundreds of desperate women.
Second, these bills are obviously an anti-abortion, anti-women's rights political end-run and not about women's health. If I remember correctly, we've had these arguments before, and a side was chosen.
And the Republicans know this. Yet, they are still cynically grabbing at whatever means they possibly have to stop a woman's choice. These bills are only a façade, covering for their true intention: taking down abortion and women's rights.
This became overwhelmingly apparent to me on Monday when I approached the capitol to protest against these bills and saw pro-lifers, dressed in blue, with red tape placed either on their shirts or across their mouth reading, "Life," circling the sidewalk around the building.
As a 23-year-old woman, this truth is frightening to me, and I will have to reassess what it means to be a woman in this state.