Chaos in Tejas*

I wanted to wait until after the fourth before posting on this, but there’s quite a bit of fascinating news out of the Lone Star State these days. The Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, really, really, really wants the legislature to pass a law that will dramatically restrict when and where a legal abortion may be performed.  There’s quite a bit of speculation as to exactly why he’s so gung-ho for this law. Some say it’s because there’s a glaring conflict of interest. Others have suggested that it’s part of his party’s pattern of punishing voting blocks that don’t tend to vote Republican. It could just be a cynical attempt to fire up the social conservative base. Or, less cynically, maybe he just really believes that abortion is awful and should be made as close to illegal as the law will currently allow.

I’m hoping it’s that last one. But, even if it is? His efforts are sorely misguided. If you want to read a really strong piece on the subject, here ya go. She says much that I’ve been trying to say but haven’t found the words to express. If that’s too long, let me summarize my thoughts on the subject.

– I’ve never met anyone who is “pro-abortion.” ** The pro-choice folks I know don’t regard abortion as a good thing and view it as a last resort when all else has failed.

– Outlawing abortion does not reduce the number of abortions. It makes abortions illegal, expensive, and dangerous. This point cannot be made strongly enough. If you want to reduce the number of abortions (and who doesn’t?), outlawing abortions does nothing to achieve this goal.

– Defining a fertilized egg as a human life is not helpful. As the linked article points out, if people really believed that every fertilized egg was a precious human baby, there are far greater causes of those two cells failing to become a baby than abortion that ought to be the subject of far more scrutiny than abortions. They aren’t, of course, because people don’t really believe that two cells are the same thing as a baby.

– People who are pro-choice tend to support policies that reduce abortions. They tend to support education and contraception. Meanwhile, people who define themselves as pro-life tend to oppose education and contraception. Since the best way to avoid an abortion is to avoid becoming pregnant by mistake, the pro-life policies are, unintentionally, working to increase the number of abortions performed. Not everyone falls conveniently into these buckets, so if you’re an exception, that’s great, but I do not think that it detracts from the point I’m making.

I’m finding the political maneuvers fascinating to watch. It’s hard to know which side has the majority of voters behind them on this one. Not that it should matter; rights are not determined by majority rule. It will, however, be interesting to see how this summer impacts the coming election cycle. I get the impression both sides feel there’s political hay to be made, which is disappointing. But, I also feel like, for the first time in quite a while, the Texas progressives have enough weight to avoid being bullied, and that gives me hope.

My guess is that Perry will get his bill. He has the votes for it and he’s put a lot of his political capital on the line. If he wants to make another run at the Oval Office in 2016 (oh please, yes, let him get in front of the national media again), he can’t afford to lose this one. But, it’ll come at the cost of hurting the Texas Republican party for a very long time, which is a pretty decent silver lining.

* Yes, I ganked the title “Chaos in Tejas” from a pretty cool punk rock festival. Check them out.

** Then there’s Michelle Malkin and her “twitchy” site. She wants to be the Drudge Report of Twitter, a low bar indeed, but she’s failed to clear it in spectacular fashion. Her formula is:

1. Find a tweet that says something that could be objectionable if you misinterpret it.

2. Misinterpret it.

3. Imply that this tweet represents all liberals.

4. Feign outrage.

It gets boring pretty quickly. She also seems to believe that there is such thing as a “pro-abortion” movement (see here, here, and here).That last one is especially annoying because she implies that making a mistake, then admitting it and correcting it, is something that disqualifies you from being a journalist. Oh, and what’s even better is that Malkin, as usual, focuses on one side using children (which sucks, btw) and ignore all the pro-lifers who puts duct tape over their childrens’s mouths in 100+ degree weather (which not only sucks, it’s really dangerous).

I like this post as well.  It’s obtuse to the point of being comical. First of all, there’s nothing remotely ironic about pointing out that politicians are not doctors even if you support the Affordable Care Act which is about paying for health care, not providing it. Apples and oranges. And besides, what makes anyone think that the woman holding the sign supports the ACA? It’s a cheap attempt at snark being trumpeted as “hilarious irony” that is, of course, neither.

I used to think that was “the dumbest place on the internet,” but twitchy is really giving them a run for their money.


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