Brush off those anti-abortion bingo cards you set aside after last month's election, because Texas Governor Rick Perry just spewed out an alarming yet depressingly predictable bevy of buzzwords during a press conference organized by Texas Right to Life at a crisis pregnancy center today. (In Perry's dream Texas, CPCs would replace legitimate women's health clinics that provide, refer for or even vaguely "promote" abortions. Also the star on the state flag would be replaced with an embryo shedding a single tear.)
Perry said he would support legislation that would ban abortion in the state after 20 weeks — "the point a baby can feel the pain of being killed" — and added that legislators have "an obligation to end that kind of cruelty." That's two to four weeks earlier than a fetus is considered viable outside the womb. But who needs science when you're empathetic enough to feel suffering that doesn't actually exist?
Perry didn't stop there; he bragged about his stellar track record of making it extremely hard for women to get abortions and vowed that the Texas Legislature would spend the entirety of its 140-day session trying to pick away at Roe v. Wade. "As supporters of life, we have an obligation to make sure that every one of those days counts when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable citizens," he said. Because a fetus is a citizen in Perry's Texas, and one that should be prioritized over, say, low-income women and others who might want a teensy bit of their governor's attention.
Some other choice quotes from Perry's speech, care of his website (There is a delightful disclaimer that "Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks." I think we all learned that during the primary debates, right?):
We have an obligation to end that kind of cruelty. Now, to be clear, my goal, and the goal of many of those joining me here today, is to make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past.
Texans: hope you weren't trying to get anything else done that gets in the way of/doesn't directly relate to eliminating abortion!
I don't think there is any issue that better fits the definition of "compelling state interest" than preventing the suffering of our state's unborn.
Let's be even clearer: Perry will not sleep, eat, or think about any other pressing economic and social issues until he feels like he has control over every woman's bouncing baby belly.
Again, the ideal world is a world without abortion.
This afternoon, a Texas Women's Health Program patient, along with some state Planned Parenthood family planning providers, filed a challenge to the "affiliate ban rules" in the proposed fully state-funded Texas Women's Health Program that launches January 1st. It's still unclear whether Planned Parenthood clinics will be banned from the Texas Women's Health Program, along with dozens of other clinics across the state that offer breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, and other basic care but dare to provide and/or refer for abortions, too.
We'll keep you posted as the lawsuit develops; looks like the state's women will need these clinics more than ever. If Perry really cared about women's health — which he loves to claim isn't the same as "protecting the rights of abortion providers" — he wouldn't keep throwing the more than one-quarter of Texas women who are uninsured under the bus.