Texas Republicans fail to pass restrictive abortion bill, after long night of filibuster, debates over parliamentary procedure, and "unruly mobs"

Update at 7:46 AM: As of about 3:00 AM Central time, Texas' Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst officially declared the bill dead — the voting did happen after the midnight deadline on the Senate special session. According to The Texas Tribune's Brandi Grissom, Dewhurst, a Republican, told reporters that "'An unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics' derailed legislation that was designed to protect women and babies." He was apparently referring to the crowd of thousands that gathered at the Texas Capitol last night and which occasionally chanted slogans or responded from the viewing balcony. Also, Peter Webber at The Week notes that, at one point in the evening, somebody tried to change dates on the official Senate record — effectively making it look like the vote happened before midnight. The original record had already been printed, however, so reporters were able to circulate both versions side by side.

Update at 12:13 AM: The bill may or may not have passed. Republican Senators are reporting that it passed and that voting began before midnight. Democratic Senators (and reporters) say the voting didn't start until after the midnight deadline. The aftermath of this is probably going to be legally messy. It's not really clear what's happening and there's a good chance there won't be a solid answer tonight. The best places to get updates: The Texas Tribune and The Austin American-Statesman.

Update at 12:00 AM Central: The Texas Senate still has not managed to vote on the abortion bill Senator Wendy Davis was trying to filibuster. Although her filibuster ended over an hour and a half ago, parliamentary procedure debates ate up the remaining time in the special session. Becca Aronson of The Texas Tribune is at the Texas Capitol. As of 12:02, she says the the Senate might vote on the bill anyway.

Original Story: Texas Senator Wendy Davis spoke for more than 11 hours straight today, attempting to filibuster a restrictive abortion bill that would, among other things, drastically reduce the number of legal abortion clinics in the state and ban abortions after 20 weeks in most cases.

Davis' filibuster was intended to go until midnight, when the clock runs out on the special legislative session. It ended with an hour and 35 minutes left to go after Republican legislators challenged her on several parliamentary rules — including putting on a supportive back brace and talking about a 2011 Texas law that forced women who wanted an abortion to undergo invasive vaginal ultrasounds. As of 10:28 pm, Central, Democratic legislators were trying to make it to midnight by challenging the challenges to the filibuster.

You can watch a live feed, read the bill itself, and follow coverage at The Texas Tribute Twitter or The Austin American-Statesman.

Video Link: Spectators erupt in chants of "Let Her Speak" when Davis' filibuster is blocked.


  1. I’d like to think things like this will finally kill the “all democrats are the same as republicans” tripe…

    1. The real irony is, a true republican would consider this to be a wild invasion of privacy by an over reaching government.  This isn’t a conservative small government stance.  This is a religious and simple bigotry stance.  Something the Democrats have their own fair share of history with.  In the same state no less.

        1.  Heh, not exactly my area of expertise.  But, I’ll say this.  My Dad, a Reagan loving card carrying republican who religiously watches fox news, sat down next to me the other day and said “I kind of think this Snowden guy is a hero.”  And pulled out some press clippings he saved from when he was 18 years old of an editorial he wrote in support of protests being made during the vietnam war.  Voiced, from a conservative stand point no less.  I hate the two party system.  At the end of the day all it is, is one more way for us to dehumanize people and shout down other peoples ideas without giving them the time of day. 

          There are still good people in every party.  And more and more, in no party at all.  We just need to not let people lull us into this us verus them game so easily.  An open dialogue is a great thing.  A market place of ideas.  And I don’t know what happened to that in this country.  When that market turned into walmart… but we can build a new market place every time we talk to another human being, whether we disagree with them about something or not.

          1. And I don’t know what happened to that in this country.

            Rupert Murdoch happened, exactly like in the UK.

      1. Those true republicans tapered off quite some time ago. And if any do exist, they certainly don’t have much influence on the republican party anymore. This IS now the “true” republican party and they prove it over and over again with stunts like this for many years (and even decades) on end now. There’s always anomalies, but they are just that… anomalies.

        Welcome to the new, true republicans.

        Something the Democrats have their own fair share of history with. In the same state no less.

        Right, but that still shouldn’t be confused with equivalence. Republicans love it when you do that.

    2. I really felt that while watching the last hour of the chaos.  Republicans may be worse than Democrats in some ways, but they’re both awful. Supporting Democrats just because you hate the Republicans seems to be a bad idea.  That kind of attitude has gotten us drones, excessive NSA wiretapping, more prosecutions of whistleblowers than ever before, … the list goes on.  If we continue int he Republican vs. Democrat mindset then we’re all going to lose.  Or at least 99.9% of us.

      1. The reality of politics is that it’s all about choosing your least worst option.  There typically is no such thing as “optimal”.  It’s never been anything else.

        1. That’s the reality in a garbage political system like ours anyway, with first-past-the-post voting. In parliamentary systems you can at least choose someone you fully support without getting punished for it.

          1. I’m guessing you’re making that statement from a country with universal health care, where women have more rights than they do in Texas…

      2.  I’m a strict lesser-of-two-evilist. Imagine if, in every election, voters elected the lessor of two evils. Imagine that politicians realized that they couldn’t count on votes based on personal identity, but actually had to actively compete to be less evil than the other guy.

        Way back when, I could vote for Republicans for local offices when the local Democratic candidate for Water Commissioner was advocating using crystal healing to solve the Israel-Palestine crisis. Those days are long gone, and I haven’t voted for a Republican for nearly 20 years.

        Republican anti-intellectualism has completely swamped Democratic anti-intellectualism. Even as Republicans have gained seats in legislative positions, they have lost seats at executive positions, because they insist on nominating incompetent boobs.

        It may not happen in my lifetime, but if I continue to vote for the lesser of two evils, I look forward to the day when candidates vie to be less evil than the competition.

          1. With a great, supportive argument like that, who could possibly disagree with you?  You get the defeatist of the month golf clap award.

          2.  Awww. Can I not have Cynic of the month, at least? Far as I can see, the only thing that works is hitting ’em in the wallet; hassling folks to stop buying from those who lobby for horrible fuckery for their own personal, or corporate gain, and writing to tell them that as well. Even a small dip in profits might be enough to get them to behave somewhat better. I’m just utterly disillusioned with the utter fucking sham we’ve got everywhere now.

      3. You play the game with the rules you’re given. Wishing for different rules is a choice to play badly.

      4. That kind of attitude has gotten us drones, excessive NSA wiretapping, more prosecutions of whistleblowers

        Wrong, what’s  really gotten us all those horrible things is by NOT voting in lesser evil consistently.

        What do you expect after two GW Bush terms with a mostly rubber stamp Congress during his rule?

        For example, did you help Gore lose against GW Bush by throwing away your vote for a third party?  Gee, thanks.

        I mention this because you brought up NSA wiretapping. Gore says NSA surveillance violates the Constitution.  Whoops… were would we be NOW if people hadn’t thrown away their votes for Nader?

        People like you helped usher in greater evil by throwing away their votes when we needed them the most and now you’re pointing your finger at ME?

        I blame you for being an impractical idealist who helps to usher in greater evil.

        Maybe complain about the effects of voting in a lesser evil over time after we’ve actually tried it?

        In our current American reality, the corporatists are entrenched (thanks to consistently voting in greater evil).  They control our mass media, lobby our government with massive amounts of money, enter and exit our government at will, etc..  What is you third party candidate going to do against this?  LOSE.

        The corporatists just love it when you fall for false equivalency and further entrench them.

        Keep voting in greater evil by throwing away your vote and all you do is ironically make it more and more impossible for a third party to ever get in the door.Democrats suck, but at least with them there’s a tiny crack in the door down the road for third parties to get in, with Republicans they nail that door SHUT.It’s going to take decades of voting in lesser evil at this point because we’ve spiraled so far backwards by NOT doing so already.If you are so convinced I’m wrong, show me a third party candidates that have a chance in hell of beating republicans.  Name names, please.http://i.imgur.com/YFy3MLR.gif

        1. What’s really gotten us all those horrible things is by NOT voting in a lesser evil consistently when we had the chance.

          If we had gone from Clinton to Gore to Obama, or whatever sans Bush, we might not have hovercars, but we probably wouldn’t be so far gone that China can look at us and say, with perfect legitimacy, “I know you are, but what am i?”

    3. I dozed off for a sec while reading the comments (no offense) and briefly dreamt that Republicans said if the father acts like a Neanderthal, he is a Neanderthal, thus a different species and so Constitutional rights do not apply.  Somewhere in all this was an anti-evolution nose-thumbing implication: how could we be descended from Neanderthals?

      The whole thing lasted a few seconds but that was the takeaway.

      1. I dozed off for a sec while reading the comments (no offense)

        That’s ok, I’m sure my comments have that effect on many people.

        briefly dreamt that Republicans

        I just realized I’ve never had a dream about Republicans (that I can remember). Maybe I do, but perhaps my hippocampus graciously swaps it out with new information right when wake up? Hippocampus, I love you.

        Republicans said if the father acts like a Neanderthal

        You just sent me down the rabbit hole, gawd dammut.

        ” … While Neanderthals remain something of a mystery even to creationists, the new research reminds us of the reality of what the Bible teaches: Neanderthals were neither ape-men nor inferior to other humans. Rather, as with all humans, Neanderthals were part of the one blood of humankind (Acts 17:26), and therefore carried the image of God (Genesis 1:27). … ” – crazy ppl source

        The irony is that many people think conservatives are likely to have neanderthal tendencies, but I just think they’re medieval.

        Somewhere in all this was an anti-evolution nose-thumbing implication

        What’s scary is these quick-witted Republicans have been nose deep digging out research that translates into legislation… that is, “research” dug from their children’s fantasy books (bibles).

        Republican Control Of State Legislatures Brings Record Number of Creationism Bills:

        Crazy bastids.

        1. This is not the first such dream I’ve had about Republican policy.  I had another one about 18 years ago (in this case about Texas state politics), someday I should write it up and put it on the web — although, while it was very satirical, I think you had to be there (so to speak).

  2. While I applaud the reason Davis is filibustering… doesn’t it seem like our government is run by idiotic rules written by angry 10 year olds?

    Its like Calvin and Hobbes are running Congress, “Oh yeah, well then I will stick my fingers in my ears and sing ‘I cant hear you’ until midnight, which according to rule X59-DoubleZ means your law doesn’t pass”

          1. Rather, you have been eaten by a tiger. That explains why it is so dark, hot and damp for you at the moment.

            Tiger avatar merely reflects who is now in charge. Fnord.

          2. To paraphrase Groucho Marx, outside of a tiger a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a tiger it’s too dark to read.

            Maybe that’s why so much legislation gets passed without lawmakers having actually read any of it.

    1. At least this is a real filibuster, not the crap in the US House where there’s a vote that says “we’re filibustering”

    2. It’s the eternal, internal struggle of liberal democracy: enact majority rule while preserving minority rights and not kill each other on the House floor. Those umpteen rules are there so that democratically-elected majorities cannot burn the building down, so to speak; people with very different point of views should all be able to influence the process, but the views of a majority should still be fully respected when not completely put in practice, and all without resorting to knives like they used to do in Rome.

    3. doesn’t it seem like our government is run by idiotic rules written by angry 10 year olds?

      Well, this does go with my theory that all adults are simply overgrown children when it comes down to it.

  3. This is pretty cool, But it’s nothing like what the Texas Dems did a few years ago when they did a few years ago when they simply fled the state twice to suspend all votes. This was shortly after W stole the governorship from Richards in ’94. I think since then there has been a law passed that fleeing Texas to break up a quorum is a felony.

    And I know I posted this in comments elsewhere, but tomorrow (June 26)  starting around 5:30 to 6 CDT you can listen to Execution Watch on KPFT, the Pacifica network station in Houston. I think it’s the only live coverage of executions anywhere in the US. You will hear interviews with lawyers about the history of the case, updates from Huntsville, and then the final announcement that the prisoner is dead. It’s shocking as hell.

    If the death penalty is so cool, why doesn’t the mainstream media cover it live? Why doesn’t Channel 13 break into Wheel of Fortune to announce the death? They know it would bring shame upon is, so they are silent . Only KPFT covers it live. Execution Watch will likely start between 5:30 to 6 CDT tomorrow. The death will be reported between 6:30-6:45 CDT.

    I know this is my 3rd comment hyping Execution Watch in 14 hours. Please don’t think I am spamming. I think everyone should get a chance to listen to the facts whatever they believe about the death penalty, and the best chance to hear those facts will be the evening of June 26 starting at 6 PM CDT on KPFT. Its as close as anyone will let you get.

      1.  It will be live steamed at http://www.kpft.org/ starting between 5:30-6 PM CDT. If there are no delays, the broadcast should start at 5:30. The walk to the death chamber should be a little after 6, and the announcement of death is usually between 6:30 and 6:45. There might be reports from the death vigils in Huntsville and Houston. I can’t make it to the Houston vigil this time, but this case will have plenty of supporters

    1.  You know, ignoring the whole capital punishment ethics argument.  ( REALLY ).  I can totally see why people wouldn’t broadcast up to the prisoner updates on their executions.  Aside from it being revolting, it’s also really rude.  I don’t know why anyone would ever broadcast that unless their intention was to shock people.  And that seems to imply a specific motive.  One that is not universally shared.  So, that would probably be why only KPFT covers it.  And I still think that’s downright rude.

      1.  Executions are downright rude.  And downright revolting. Maybe if more people were exposed to the nuts n bolts of them, we wouldn’t have so many?  Or any?  Do you really not get it?

        1.  I guess at the core of it, are they asking the people who are being executed if they want this information made public.  I am all for a prison being allowed to choose for their execution to be public.  But they should also be allowed to choose for it to be private.  As I stated before, I am not going to discuss the morality of capital punishment.  Put that aside for a moment.  Put yourself in the shoes of a person who is about to be executed.  And imagine for a moment, that you would not want your name broadcast on the radio as it would possibly negatively affect the people you love.

          More to the point, even if the prisoner wants his execution made public, should it be if it will hurt his family and/or his victims and their loved ones? 

          I think it’s rude to simply broadcast an execution.

          1.  You make some good points about harm to the family and/or victims. But, I don’t see how to continue this discussion without bringing in the morality of the death penalty. So I think we’re done here.  :)

          2. One parting word of caution.  This country’s basic principles harken to the idea that people should have a right to choose their own fate.  At times, you’ll find yourself trying to right a wrong, and it may be impossible.  You’ll be tempted to choose the lesser evil.  I think you should definitely think long and hard before you start sacrificing someone else’s right to choose their own fate, so that you can champion a moral cause.  It may be worth it.  And no one will likely judge you but yourself.  But, you may regret having walked that path.  And regret is the one  karma that we can all be certain of experiencing in this life.

          3.  ” I think you should definitely think long and hard before you start sacrificing someone else’s right to choose their own fate…”.

            Wait… WHAT?  We’re talking about someone about to get executed right?  How do they have any possible way to choose their own fate?  Not following you man…

          4. Two very separate moral arguments.  The big argument you want to have is about a prisoner being executed at all.  You, I assume, see that as a very serious moral failure.  Fair enough.  It’s definitely a very serious issue.  Won’t deny that at all.  But, I raised the rights of an individual.  In this case someone who presumably will die.  He will be executed.  Does he have the right to privacy in that.  These are separate issues.  Assume for the sake of argument, you believe he should have the right to choose.  Or, the victims should have the right to choose.  Doesn’t matter for now which.  Now, I ask you.  Is it alright to trample that right to fight the greater battle to open a dialogue about capital punishment and possibly save the lives of future prisoners.

            It boils down to an argument of greater good.  Or on the flip side of the equation, the lesser evil.  If you don’t broadcast his execution, you may feel more complicit to the act.  But if you do, you hurt the individual that is being executed.  You can’t win either way you decide.

            From a basic ethics perspective it’s a heck of a quandry.  And, it’s one people need to think on a lot deeper.  I think if the folks who pushed this bill through tonight had sat down and thought through their own moral qualms with abortion, they may have made a different choice.  And I think a few of the folks who voted for this will end up regretting that decision on a deeper level than losing their seat. 

            At the end of the day, I don’t have a problem with someone disagreeing with me about morality.  That’s okay.  But, I do wish people would spend some more time considering the full implications of their decisions, and their actions, and deciding if they really will be okay with what they’ve done.  Don’t sacrifice your humanity for any cause.  It’s better to die without regret than give up a piece of yourself for all the best intentions. 

            Dunno if I got that point across.  Hope I did.  It’s the very heart of learning to be a good person.

          5.  @openfly:disqus Like Jake0748, it absolutely mystifies me why you would apparently think whether an execution is public is a greater moral quandary than whether there is an execution at all.  How much can a dead person possibly care about what they say about him or her on the radio?

            Once you have sentenced a person to death that person’s rights have been abrogated to the fullest extent possible.  There is no greater breach of personal autonomy than being sentenced to death.  I imagine “Sorry, bro, but you still have control of the broadcast rights” would be pretty poor comfort to anyone in that situation.

          6.  Once the state has stripped you of your right to live – the right to privacy was about 10 steps up the ladder.

            I don’t support the death penalty – but I don’t think anyone actually being executed should expect a right to privacy – in fact to make sure the death penalty is ‘doing what it is designed to do’ (which is provide a deterrent to crime due to fear of execution) – I would expect the state to make it much more public.

            Otherwise what is the point?  It’s more expensive than keeping them in the cell until they die – it doesn’t make anything better for society.  It’s only point is to make people think twice before they do certain crimes – if it’s kept private it doesn’t even do that.

          7.  You know, not for nothing.  I get your argument, and largely I agree with it.  But,  on topic, pro-life people honestly do believe that a human being is being sentenced to death by abortion.

            And, to some of them, that is so much more important than a woman’s right to choose.  Now there are bigots and religous zealots in there as well.  But, there are folks who do honestly see an equivalency between abortion and murder.  I disagree with that.  But, I accept that someone else disagrees with me out there.  And they disagree strongly.

            If you can’t see that your own position has at least a marginal parallel, I think you aren’t looking hard enough.

            As I said before.  Choosing the lesser evil is really a dangerous path.  And if anything demonstrates that, it’s what we got a reprieve from last night in Texas.  All I ask is that when you do face a moral dilemma such as these, you don’t compromise yourself.  Don’t do anything you will regret.

          8. In reply to openfly: why did you bring up potential harm to the soon to be executed individual’s families as a reason to never allow public executions? Isn’t that stripping the right to determine their privacy / non-privacy from the one who is about to be executed?

            I’m fine with your distinction that the prisoner has to agree to his execution being public and televised, but your argument relies on a hard line being drawn around the individual’s right to privacy that grants absolute autonomy to the individual regarding the choice between privacy and non-privacy, and I feel your comment about potential harm to the family weakened that argument.

            In any case, setting aside the moral debate as you asked, I think you would be surprised how many death row inmates would elect to have their execution broadcast. If you dislike the idea of it, you may want to adopt a different tactic.

      2.  Of course the fuck it’s shocking and rude. It’s state sanctioned intentional killing. it’s gotta be at least a little bit inherently shocking.

        Listen to Execution. Sometimes their legal experts say “Yeah, there were problems with the defense, but the fucker pretty much did it.” Other times they raise serious doubts.

        Leaving aside the ethical debate about the death penalty, the people deserve the facts. And KPFT’s Execution Watch provides them.

    2. Please don’t think I am spamming.

      Posting about executions in a thread about an abortion bill, why would anybody think that?

          1. Not to the people who push restrictions on abortions.  They’re all about vengeance, regardless of form.

          2.  ah yeas, Vengeance, i remember all those bits in the Bible where Jesus told us that vengeance was awesome.

  4. Defeaning roar of disapproval from the crowd outside the Senate chamber in the minutes leading up to midnight.

    WTF just happened? No media reports on the outcome yet.

    1. That’s because the Senate can’t agree on what the outcome was, apparently. Republicans say they voted and it passed. Democrats say the vote happened after midnight deadline and doesn’t count. 

      1. Thanks for keeping us updated on this major event.  None of the news sites I follow have bothered to post the breaking story yet. 

  5. Did I just watch the Texas Senate pass the bill with a vote *after* the midnight deadline, while the crowd yelled “shame”?  Did I just see that?

      1.  Then it edited the spreadsheet showing the date that the vote took place from June 26 to the 25th, just to keep it classy.

  6. I was watching it live, and I live in Austin. If there was a vote, it took place after midnight. That is clearly illegal under Texas law, but if your party has complete control of the state, I guess you get to do whatever you want.

  7. Well done in your careful and clear reporting. This is one of the best summaries I’ve seen so far. Cheers.

    1.  Yes! I watched the thing live from about 10pm central on, es decir, all the action, and was totally confused by reading contradictory or outdated reports from ‘authoritative’ news sources. 

  8. Doesn’t matter which way this vote went. They’d find other ways to shut down rural abortion clinics. The main problem is the new waiting periods and the ultrasound. Harris County has the closest thing to the Onion’s Abortionplex you will find anywhere But now you got to rent a motel room, especially if you came in from Louisiana.

  9. Yet another win for the patriarchy. Bills regulating the ladyparts: thousands. Bills regulating gentlemanparts: still zero.

    When Sen. Leticia Van De Putte said “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?”, I doubt the male Senators who were forcing this new law that made women more subservient to men grasped the irony.

    Btw, it was a nice attempt by Sen. Wendy Davis, but the system is rigged.

    1. Ladyparts are sneaky, hiding out all up in there. Just like terrorists. You want American to be safe, don’t you?

      1. I’d say they’re more sinful and should be subject to regulation and oversight, unlike dangly ding-dongs.

        1. Actually I’m pretty sure it has to do with ownership. All of the people who face more regulation of their bodies are people who used to be owned by the people who face less regulation of their bodies.

          1. Your post made me think of children, who are still legal chattel of their parents to this day.

            There’s an abortion story that fits in nicely here, about a child (12 at the time of conception) who — according to the anti-choice people — was brought in for an abortion by her “boyfriend” in his mid-30s.  This story is being used by the antis to “prove” that Planned Parenthood aids and abets rapists of little girls and that this is why parental notification laws are so crucial.

            Except, the “boyfriend” bringing her in was her legal guardian: her step-father.  Yes, the guy who raped her.  And PP immediately notified the authorities, which is how the police found the family.  And the charges were dropped because the child’s MOTHER, married to the perpetrator, was the one with the legal right to decide whether or not to allow the case to go forward.

    2. I’d argue that prostitution and pornography laws are, basically, “laws regulating gentlemenparts”, considering the demographics overwhelmingly involved. Same for the original inheritance laws, back when inheritance was for male heirs only. Family laws as well (especially the ones covering divorce) have a strong whiff of prejudice against individuals carrying penises.

      1. As a single dad trying to win custody of my son from his mom who abandoned him (to me!) and has severe psychological issues, I have to agree.  But now she wants child support because she is unable to keep a job, and because we were never married, I have no rights to my son at all until I win them in court.

        1. I’m sorry you have to fight an unfair battle. 

          But I don’t understand why you don’t have rights because you weren’t married? Is your name on his birth-certificate as the father? That should give you rights, or it would in Canada. Hope you get your day in court soon.

        2. Want a better chance at fixing family law? Become a feminist. Challenge the patriarchal idea that women are natural mothers and naturally will care for their children. It will help everyone. Dad’s trying to take care of their kids, moms trying to take care of their kids, and most importantly… kids.

        3. Not true.  Get a paternity test.  That, plus the proof that you have been parenting him is the necessary legal proof.

      2. Just… no, not the same, at all. Sorry it’s illegal for you to whip it out and jack it anytime anywhere, but that is *not* the same as telling me I *must* carry a fetus to term. Not the same at all.

        And yes, agreed, Family Law in many places is sexist for the same reasons that the government keeps trying to make abortion illegal. Out of date patriarchal archaic ideas about sex and marriage.  

        1. Of course there isn’t a direct male equivalent: the male body doesn’t grow babies. Still, we are held responsible for where our seed ends up, regardless of whether we’d wanted that seed to grow or not; so in practice, our body is equally “legislated for”.

          1. “Of course there isn’t a direct male equivalent: the male body doesn’t grow babies. ”

            That’s really where you should stop.

            After that you seem to be confusing not being able to control other people’s bodies with having your own rights impinged upon.

          2.  Plus he’s grossing me out with that bit about regulating prostitution and porno as regulating men’s dangly bits  and nothing about the sex workers.  Creepy McCreepcreep. 

          3. So you agree, there is no male equivalent.
            So no, your body is not equally legislated.
            You cannot be on both sides of the argument at the same time. 

          4. And this is why you lose allies and you’re still fighting the same fight 60 years later with no end in sight. If you can’t build a comprehensive view of personal human rights and insist in special-casing yourself, you’ll always be a minority and risk defeat, year after year.

          5. we are held responsible for where our seed ends up, regardless of whether we’d wanted that seed to grow or not


          6.  Just like if my dog tears up someone’s cabbage patch or bites your face off, I am held responsible, even though I have WAY less say-so with my dog than with my dick. 

          7. I see this argument a lot:  “we are held responsible for where our seed ends up, regardless of whether we’d wanted that seed to grow or not.”

            It seems to be made by a man angry at the idea of women choosing whether or not she carries a pregnancy to term and angry that he would be held financially responsible if she decides to have the baby.  I was actually thinking about this last night before this comment was posted … how do you talk to someone like this?

          8. It’s also the opposite: men upset that they’ll be denied an achievable paternity.

            In both cases, the woman gets all the power, in nature and law, over the outcomes of a common act. I’m all for letting the woman choose what is best for her personal development, physical and otherwise, but the following legislative imbalance is there; whether it was introduced to right some wrongs (delinquent fathers) or not, it’s still an imbalance that decent people, as well as criminals, now have to suffer.

          9. @toyg:disqus “decent people…now have to suffer” – I guess women being forced to carry a baby to term that they don’t want isn’t “decent” or “people”?

          10.  @toyg:disqus Are you saying that you wish a man could stop an abortion if he is the father?  That would mean that a woman would have to wait until the 8th or 9th week of a pregnancy to have an abortion.  What happens if the woman dies because of complications during her pregnancy?

      3. Prostitution legality regulates women’s sexuality too (and think about who gets the sentence more on that one, so fail.
        Pornography law regulates women’s sexuality too, so fail.

        Neither pornography nor prostitution are hetero only, and men are not the only things that have sex… so fail.

        Now when have you had the state tell you that you can not have cancer cut out of your body because some one needs your kidney? If you haven’t faced that kind of visceral physical oppression then shut up. Really, just stop digging.

        1. In practice, both prostitution and pornography laws are largely set in place to regulate male behaviour — both markets exist because of overwhelming demand from males. Of course the ones writing those laws were also males, and not inclined to self-castration, so they started by regulating supply rather than demand, but the target was the same nevertheless. 

          We all face some sort of “visceral physical oppression” at one point or the other: you can’t kill yourself, you can’t self-mutilate (you’ll be sanctioned), you can’t walk around naked, and so on. If you can’t see this, you’re as tribal as the people you fight, and will eventually write laws as bad as the ones you’re trying to change.

          Note that I say this as an atheist and a firm believer in women’s reproductive rights (I’m much, much more pro-choice than my Catholic wife, for example — so much for “shut up you can’t understand because penis”). I just hate tribalism and religious zeal, whoever it comes from.

          1. I really don’t care what you hate. Your hating me is not a problem for me. I’m ok with being hated.

            In practice, prostitutes face a lot more of the weight of the law then men. So no, prostitution law is about controlling women.

            You certainly can kill yourself, and self mutilate… very much so. You can also drink to excess. You can have consensual sex with a stranger every other night (so long as no money is involved). So I’m sorry, but all I’m hearing are false equivalences. 

            That’s not because you have a penis, it’s because you don’t know what you are talking about. And the best thing to do when you are talking about something you clearly don’t know that much about, is to stop talking.

            I promise, I’d say the same thing to you if you didn’t have a penis.

            Personally, I love zeal. But I do recognize a strawman when I see one there.

          2. Well, I guess we have different opinions on prostitution laws.

            However, I’m sorry but, by law, I can’t kill myself in most countries (with very, very few exceptions). In some, I’ll even be punished with prison time if I try and fail. If I seriously self-mutilate, I’ll be sanctioned and locked up.

            I honestly don’t think it’s a straw man, it’s actually a central issue of modernity: how much control can the individual legally get on his own body? We started the XX century with “none” and we’re slowly improving, little by little, ring-fencing this or that case, but we’re far from being completely free to dispose of our own appendices as we like. Until there will be even the simplest notion that society can dictate what one can or cannot do to his/her own self, there will be people leveraging that notion to cover their pet issue, be it reproductive choice, homosexuality, euthanasia, piercing, tattooing or whatnot. By merging all these interests together, you can build majorities even where they look improbable: old white men with bibles are themselves quite sensitive on euthanasia, and you can use that to build connections and establish principles of self-determination which will make your own subject look logical. I’m sorry you can’t see that, because it’s a very useful argument.

            On atheism: it’s certainly more helpful to women than any mainstream religion, because it moves all political debates from “what $deity says our values are” to “what can we agree is most beneficial to our shared society right now”. In the latter context, it’s much easier to see how freedom of choice provides direct, tangible, immediate benefits for women everywhere and, as a result, for society as a whole — it’s not a guaranteed win, of course, but it’s much, much more likely to happen.

          3. Please stop equating limiting access to abortion to ridiculous non-collieries. (Also, in many places you are totally allowed to walk around naked or kill yourself so thats factually just wrong)

            There is no male equivalent, that is not a failing on your part, there just isn’t. It’s ok, women are allowed to have an issue that is their own. If you want to be supportive be supportive, but stop making terrible comparisons, they’re terrible.

          4.  I used to live in a mining town, but now it’s a ridiculous non-colliery (actually true).
            I also hate predictive text ;)

          5. In practice, both prostitution and pornography laws are largely set in place to regulate male behaviour

            This is utter bullshit. It’s almost always the woman who’s arrested (often through entrapment), tried and jailed.

      4. Care to provide us with actual numbers?  How many men vs. women are arrested under prostitution and pornography laws?

        Hint: I’m pretty certain it’s not the johns in most cases.  Or the pimps.

        A comparison of how much money is made and how safe the working conditions are between those two sexes would be great, too.

        1.  You have to then factor in the enormous moral damage that happens when some men think about the minute possibility that leveraging their social position over oppressed people in order to get their winkies wet might result in some consequences someday.  Then the columns get even. 

    3. … except for sodomy laws.  And selective service.  And attempts to outlaw circumcision.  … etc.  We’re on the same side here, but I’m tired of hearing people repeat this bullshit that men don’t have ANY laws covering their bodies.

      1. Sorry, but not the same. Perhaps if men were banned from having their appendix out even it was ruptured we might be close to same territory, but no, not the same.

        However, all the laws do come from the same archaic patriarchal outdated ideas about sex and marriage, yes.

        1. I think the argument for Selective Service being very similar could be made. At least, it definitely takes away men’s rights to control their own bodies in a way that could lead to them dying. 

          1. … I understand the argument, but I still feel like it’s a little derailing to the topic at hand? It’s a real issue that deserves it own coverage outside of the discussion on access to abortion, I feel anyway. 

            (Also, as a Canadian, I was unaware that this was still a thing! My god, how do y’all live with all the random stressors!)

          2. This month is the 40th anniversary of the end of the draft. Bringing it up should get its own chapter in the Manual of Mansplaining.

          3.  It was merely to counter the argument that there are no laws regarding men’s bodies.  Also, the DRAFT ended, but registration for the draft (Selective Service) is still required when MALES turn 18.

        2. Not the same, no — although I disagree that your example is comparable (burst appendix is certain death without treatment).  But they are laws that affect men’s bodies.  I’m merely objecting to the oft-repeat BS that there are ZERO laws affecting men only.

          1.  60% of the time it works every time? Many pregnancies being certain death is not the same as all burst appendixes being certain death. (I’m talking semantics here not about the actual equivalence of the issues)

          2. Where has that been said here? Our bodies are legislated all over, but this issue, this *one* issue, the regulation of the womb is specific to women. That is all. There is no male equivalent. I’m not saying there aren’t other bodily injustices done to men, there are many, but they are not the same, that is all.

          3. Wait, this isn’t about the men?  Screw that.  We will make it about the men. :p

      2. Sodomy is non-procreative sex, which both men and women engage in every single day, and it’s not against the law anywhere in the US thanks to a SCOTUS decision some years back.  Selective Service should apply to all citizens or to none.  It’s a stupid system as it stands, but a poor example of an attempt to legislate reproductive choice of men.  Attempts to outlaw circumcision are not based in a desire to control a man’s reproductive choices, because it does not effect reproductive function at all.  

        So, still zero.

        1.  The comment and sentiment I was replying to said nothing about reproduction: “Bills regulating gentlemanparts: still zero”.  If you think sodomy laws, selective service and circumcision laws (which thankfully haven’t passed to my knowledge) don’t apply to “gentlemanparts” then you’re merely disagreeing to be contrary.

          So, still not zero.

          1. I feel like you’re being pedantic on purpose?
            The parts we’re talking about when we say “ladyparts” in reference to abortion is the womb/uterus. There are no bills regulating your testicles, that would be the only equivalent.

            Are there laws and regulations affecting our bodies and our persons? Yes, of course there are, no one would make that argument because that would be wrong.

            But are there equivalent laws regulating mens testicles in the way that the uterus is constantly being regulated? No, there are not.

          2. I feel like you’re being pedantic on purpose… by ‘lady parts’ you meant ovaries and uterus (not vagina or cervix or breasts) and by “gentlemanparts” you meant purely testicles and not penis or prostate or sperm? Of course! How could I not have seen that at first glance?! You’re right, when you do define your terms so unusually there are no specific pieces of legislation covering men’s testicles. You win.

          3. @boingboing-9e039cde871ee92385cac87ca0468af2:disqus You can be as glib as you want, but we literally are talking about legislation about the womb/uterus. Not vaginas, or cervix, or ovaries, or breasts, (not that I don’t think they’d regulate those parts if they thought they could get away with it) so yes, if you want to talk about equivalent regulations for men, then you need to find a regulation that affects the testes or perhaps the prostate.
            And so you know, regulating male or female bodies is a no-win situation.

      3. There are no longer any sodomy laws in the US. Nor is there a draft anymore. And laws about circumcision attempt to return control of men’s body parts to the men to whom they’re attached.

    4. If there’s one area where you can’t sensibly expect total gender symmetry, it is surely in the case of pregnancy and termination thereof. In this case, one of the “ladyparts” in question is a genetically distinct human being.

      1. But sure, lets ignore the lady parts that surround that “genetically distinct human being” that wouldn’t survive for a second *outside* of those lady parts. Obviously we must favour that over the living breathing PERSON that already exists, because …reasons?

        1. Women are just sort of carrier thingies for real people! I’ve always wondered why people who think like this aren’t supportive of aborting female babies since they’re not going to grow up to be people anyways. I guess you have to keep some womb sacks around to make more real humans from.

        2. Modern medicine says your argument his flawed, so please use better ones.

          But yes, I agree that the woman’s own health comes before an unborn fetus; if anything, because society has already invested lots of resources in growing that woman to adulthood (education, food etc); throwing out all this to “save” a little thing who may or may not survive in the long run and will require lots of additional resources anyway with unpredictable results, it just doesn’t make sense from a rational, limited-resources perspective.

          1. Most abortions are performed before 14 weeks. A fetus that small would not survive outside the womb. That is not incorrect. Please find something else to nitpick.

            Thank you for allowing the woman to survive because of economics…? That is literally the weirdest pro-choice argument I have ever read… but I’ll take support where I find it, so thank you?

          2.  “the woman’s own health comes before an unborn fetus”. So does her decision as to whether or not to keep said foetus. The ONLY other person who MAY have a say, is the father of said foetus. Sometimes. Maybe.

  10. Under the requirement for fair an equal treatment does this mean we should require the ultrasound probe to be used before they can have their ED prescriptions written?

    1. Yes, and a full-spectrum STD test, urethra scraping and all.  Got to keep it equally intrusive in order to overcome 14th Amendment challenges.

  11. I was there and there was no way they passed this by midnight. The last bastion of democracy got loud and defeated a heavy handed abuse of power. We’ve done it before and we’ll do it again in the face of bigotry, injustice and oppression. 

  12. The Massachusetts legislature has pulled the clocks down from the floor to cast votes on dubious legislation after the legal end of a session before.

    The official register will show the votes were cast at a legal time and that the close of session was midnight. A legislature has the ability to decide what time it is. 

    1. “An unruly mob, using Occupy Wall Street tactics, disrupted the Senate from protecting unborn babies…”

      But fortunately the outcome protects actual living people instead.


      1. An interesting tidbit is how “OWS tactics” is now a derogatory term in some circles. I for my part think it means that protesting alongside networking and open information works.

  13. Sure, the anti-choice folks will mount another attempt as quickly as possible. One with, no doubt, tighter security to fend off another “Occupy-type” turnout of opposing voices. But for this brief moment tonight, it fills me with hope to think that for those who wish to impose their limitations on others – time is, quite literally, running out.

    1.  Supposedly Monday morning is when the next attempt is to be mounted.  The good thing about it being so soon thereafter is that hopefully a lot of the activists, certainly any freaking students on summer, could still be in the capitol. 

  14. From what I saw, the crowd and spectators were remarkably calm and quiet almost the entire night.  It was not until the Speaker flat out ignored (literally) a female senator trying to make a motion and began calling for a vote shortly before midnight that the crowd spontaneously erupted into what I can only call screaming.  They kept this up for a good 15-20 minutes despite attempts to arrest them and quiet them — until after midnight.  The Republicans’ behavior was nothing short of shameful in their manipulation of procedural rules trying to end the filibuster, and in the treatment of their opposition.  The mob was not at any point “unruly” until the Speaker blatantly ignored procedure and tried to steamroll over Democrats.  There was absolutely nothing fair or open about this debate. 

  15. The problem is that these lawmakers represented a majority. However vocal and active, a minority is still a minority, and will inevitably be overruled one day or another.

    1. Tyranny of the majority? The important thing though is that they don’t *represent* the majority actually.

      1. Of course. Still, old white men with anachronistic morals are the majority of people who actually care to get their ass to the polling booth every few years.

          1. I LOLed :D

            Fair point, but that’s the result of other systemic failures, and to be honest, the concept of an “executive branch” is quite f*ed up in its own way. Not that parliamentary majorities aren’t f*ed up in their own ways (they change, they shift, they disappear…), but usually it’s a bit harder to betray the electorate so massively.

          2. The UK Parliament might be the mother of all liberal democracies, but it’s certainly not a model of virtue.

    2. Your comment suggests that you have an interest in how rights of  a minority are protected in a democracy. May I suggest reading about the Supreme Court rulings today? I think you’ll find the material informative and relevant.

  16. Maggie, I have to dispute your version of the events. I was watching live. The republicans were about to call a vote with about 10 minutes left, then after Senator’s Leticia Van De Putte comment “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?” the gallery erupted in cheers and noise and stopped all action in the senate until after midnight. If not for “those meddling kids” (and others), the bill would have passed.

    1. Watching the feed last night, and reading the media updates, I was under the impression that it was mainly parliamentary procedure still bogging down the forward momentum during that time. Since I’m not clear on which was more important, I’m going to just delete that part. 

    2. We need to look slightly earlier in the debate, when Sen. Van De Putte attempted to make a motion which, had it been recognized by the President of the Senate, would have been in order and have slowed the proceedings enough allow the “meddling kids” to continue to watch quietly. Instead, the President ignored her and ordered a roll-call vote. Sen. Van De Putte’s now-famous remark was in protest to this treatment. And he never did answer her question.

  17. I’d love to see the federal government adopt Texas’s filibuster rules. If senators had to actually stand there and talk, without veering off topic, without bathroom or food breaks, and without standing or leaning on anything, we might actually see stuff get done, instead of the current status quo where the mere threat of a filibuster means that you need a supermajority to get anything done.

    1.  I’m surprisingly okay with the federal government having a lot of trouble getting anything done.  I would rather make it hard for the people in power to further entrench and enrich themselves than grease the skids even more than they already are.

      1. It’s a bit depressing isn’t it that in some ways the best way for a government to work is to not work very much at all. I find myself hoping that they just leave things alone.

  18. I was at ground
    zero at the Texas Capitol last night. Occupy Wall Street may have
    fizzled as a movement, but it gave the crowd a common visual vocabulary
    to communicate quickly. An informed crowd can make good decisions;
    people with smart phones, Twitter, and live feeds can sort bad
    information from good in seconds, and act accordingly. The “unruly mob”
    was quiet and orderly for hours. We only got loud when the Democrats on the floor ran
    out of options and we had to run down the clock for 16 more minutes. In
    other words, mobs aren’t dumb any more. And despite what Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and
    his allies might say, that’s why we beat them last night.

  19. “Unruly mob”, he says.

    Funny, isn’t it, that a sweaty herd of screaming, fact-free Tea Party goons in a public place, waving loaded guns and lynching nooses in the air, ISN’T a “mob” – Not as long as they might vote for a republican, that is.

  20. So where’s the video? I mean, we have the technology, right? 
    I want to watch the full eleven hours of Wendy Davis following a very elaborate train of thought. Then I want to remix it with techno music and do an 11 hour victory dance.

  21. “He was apparently referring to the crowd of thousands that gathered at the Texas Capitol last night and which occasionally chanted slogans or responded from the viewing balcony. ”

    I watched the live feed last night and my interpretation is that at the point Davis’s filibuster was declared over by the guy leading the process the crowd erupted because they thought it was for BS reasons.  They attempted to finish up the parliamentary procedure to vote for the bill and in the last 10 minutes before the deadline the leader (sorry I dont know his name) said something to the effect of “if we dont have order (quiet from the crowd) we will not be able to have the vote” at which point the crowd made non-stop noise until the deadline.  It *was* an unruly crowd using OWS style tactics- a group of ardent supporters used the power of their voices to disrupt the (representative based) political process to prevent legislation they saw as wrong.  It was pretty epic to watch. 

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