Tuesday night, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat, stood for thirteen hours during a filibuster against Senate Bill 5 which would have seriously impacted women’s access to reproductive health options in her state, including, among other things, restricted abortion options after twenty weeks gestation.
While I ‘m not one who thinks women should be choosing to have an elective abortion at this late gestation, I am also a realist who understands the women making this difficult choice aren’t doing so because they no longer wish to be pregnant.
In his address to the anti-abortion group National Right to Life, Perry slammed Davis, stating:
“In fact, even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. She was the daughter of a single woman, she was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas senate. It is just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters.“
The fact of the matter is this — Governor Perry is missing the larger picture and I am going to explain why in four simple reasons:
1. Texas has the third highest teen parent rate in the United States, behind New Mexico and Mississippi. 85/1,000 teens ages 15 to 19 will become a parent in the Lone Star state. If you break the numbers down further, as a whole, the state of Texas (in 2010) had 96,207 teen births. Holy Cow.
2. Abortions in Texas are hard to come by. When compared to abortion rates for the United States as a whole, Texas falls behind. For the entire state of Texas there are 64 abortion providers. In 2008, 92% of Texas counties had no abortion provider. 33% of Texas women lived in these counties making access sparse.
3. Restrictions galore. Texas has some of the strictest abortion restrictions in America. According to The Guttmacher Institute:
- A woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided,
- The parent of a minor must consent and be notified before an abortion is provided,
- Public funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest, and
- A woman must undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion; the provider must show and describe the image to the woman. If the woman lives within 100 miles of an abortion provider she must obtain the ultrasound at least 24 hours before the abortion.
Several real obstacles for women looking to obtain the procedure without added legislation from state officials.
4. As Governor of Texas, Rick Perry attacked low-income women all over the state by cutting state based funding to Planned Parenthood which provides a number of health services to low-income women all over the state. Sadly for Perry, he doesn’t realize Planned Parenthood provides many more services besides the 3% of abortion related services:
So the message Perry seems to be sending is this — screw all those women who need birth control or cancer screening! Especially if they are poor and have no health insurance coverage! The fact of the matter is, the attack on Planned Parenthood is a witch hunt just as it has been for years.
Rick Perry doesn’t care for women, especially the women of Texas. If he did he wouldn’t be lobbying for additional special legislative sessions to further reduce their health care rights and focus on the unemployment or poverty rates.
Managing Editor Danielle A. Elwood is a parenting blogger who started writing in 2008 after the birth of her first child. Through four years and three children, Danielle expanded her website to include her liberal political opinions and pro-choice background. Danielle writes her self titled site DanielleElwood.com and is a freelance parenting blogger for Babble.com.
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