The Sound & Fury of the abortion issue
By Brett Voss
Now that it's all said and done, it turned out being little more than a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Nearly three weeks after Texas Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis staged her grandstanding filibuster, Republicans used their majority in the Texas Legislature to pass a bill that would give Texas some of the nation's most restrictive abortion laws and force most of its clinics to close.
Of course, the Democrats continue to make noise regarding the bill, promising to fight over the contentious measure in the courts and at the ballot box.
But when examining the new restrictions issued in by the bill, one has to wonder what exactly the Democrats want to fight over. While clinging to the generalized battle cry of protecting women's right to choose, the bill does not take those rights away. It simply puts more sensible regulations on how that choice will be made. And when considering the life of an unborn child, is that really a bad thing?
More than 2,000 demonstrators filled the Capitol building in Austin to voice their opposition to the bill, including six protesters who were dragged out of the Senate chamber by state troopers for trying to disrupt the debate. The Republican majority passed the bill unchanged just before midnight last Friday, with all but one Democrat voting against it.
"Today, the Texas Legislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life," said Gov. Rick Perry, who championed the bill. "This legislation builds on the strong and unwavering commitment we have made to defend life and protect women's health."
In the meantime, clinics that perform abortions have 90 days from the end of the legislative session to comply with the 20-week ban and things like the hospital-admitting privileges. With the session scheduled to end on July 31, those restrictions are set to take effect in the fall.
So for now, the candle has been snuffed out on the battle. But tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, the players will be heard from much more. This tale remains far from over, with much more sound and fury to come, even if it's signifying nothing.