148 years ago today, the news of the Emancipation Proclamation –and the end of the war– reached Galveston, and as such, the last corner of the Confederacy. Accordingly, June 19th, or Juneteenth, is always commemorated as a reminder of the protections of freedom and liberty. How very unfitting, then, that in the wee hours of the morning, this Juneteenth, the Texas Senate voted to, for all intent and purposes, to strip women of many of the same freedoms and liberties.
The Texas Tribune reports that SB5, the omnibus abortion restriction bill by Glenn Hegar (R-Katy), had forfeited the 20 week ban provision, but retained all the other ones. These regulations are threefold. First, abortions must be performed in “ambulatory centers,” whatever the heck that means. Second, all abortion doctors must have admitting privileges at a hospital less than 30 miles from their clinic. Third, that the abortion doctor must administer a specific drug, RU-486, in person. The last regulation seems innocuous enough, but the former two are quite harmful.
The GOP attempted to say this was all about the safety of the procedure, and the health of the women involved, but we know that simply isn’t true. David Dewhurst made a tweet today that bragged about how SB5 is projected to close down 37 of 42 of the State’s abortion clinics, including all of them outside of Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. At least Dew is being honest about the real intentions.
Regardless of one’s personal opinions on abortion, the issue is settled constitutional law: the United States Supreme Court has ruled multiple times that a woman has a right to terminate her pregnancy in the first trimester under the Right to Privacy. Any blatant attempt to eliminate access to these clinics is a huge violation of the Constitution, and, as such, will most likely be struck by a Federal Court.
Although the 20 week ban did not make it out of the Senate, the House will attempt to resurrect it. The Austin American-Statesman has the full story on that. I’m a perpetual optimist, but maybe all the work in conference committee will kill the legislation at next Tuesday’s deadline. Maybe, just maybe.
All of this reminds me of the old George Carlin quote about the priorities in the GOP. “If you’re pre-born, you are good. If you’re pre-k, you are [expletive deleted]”