By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
It's been a banner year for Texas' pro-life movement. In May, lawmakers approved state-issued "Choose Life" license plates, with proceeds earmarked for medically questionable, anti-abortion "crisis pregnancy" centers. A few days later they passed a bill requiring women to undergo a sonogram, listen to a fetal heartbeat and hear a "detailed description" of her fetus before having an abortion. And they also, if you believe their gleeful soundbites, "defunded Planned Parenthood," a description that painted a picture of a publicly funded abortion mill finally brought to its filthy knees.
Of all the bills passed this year, this last one makes pro-life leaders especially proud. The key provisions of the sonogram bill are stalled in court and unlikely to ever be enforced. Funding license plates doesn't have the rhetorical fireworks to anchor a campaign ad. But "defunding Planned Parenthood"? Those are three powerful words on the Republican re-election circuit.
Take Leo Berman. The representative from Smith County, in eastern Texas, backed some losing horses this year — insisting the president was born in Kenya, demanding to see his birth certificate, trying to have English established as the "official language" of Texas. But he also supported the "defunding," which in reality was the diversion of about $73 million out of the state's "family planning" budget — federal grant money that covers birth control, contraception and other services that aren't — that can't be — abortion.
But you wouldn't know that from talking to Berman.
"Since 1973, how many abortions have been performed in this country?" he asks. "I can tell you. It's 55 million. An organization like Planned Parenthood — just listen to the name of the organization, Planned Parenthood — was responsible for the large majority of those 55 million abortions. It was an easy choice for me to cut out a family-planning organization like that."
Representative Bryan Hughes, a Republican from Mineola, takes it even further, insisting that Planned Parenthood's many services — birth control, contraception, cancer screenings — are all merely pretexts to provide abortions. "The shell game is not hard to figure out," he wrote in the Texas Tribune. "For every dollar Planned Parenthood receives in taxpayer money, a dollar of Planned Parenthood's unrestricted funds are freed up to pay for abortions."
Even lawmakers who believe that Planned Parenthood actually exists to provide services other than abortions — services that in reality make up 97 percent of its work — don't always differentiate between abortion, birth control or general medical care. Representative Wayne Christian, who represents Nacogdoches and surrounding areas, told Texas Tribune: "Of course this is a war on birth control and abortions and everything, that's what family planning is supposed to be about." Women seeking real healthcare, these politicians say, can easily go elsewhere.
"Healthcare access for poor women is made possible through Medicaid and volunteer organizations in the cities and states of Texas," Berman says. "We defunded Planned Parenthood. That's what we did."
The narrative these lawmakers have constructed obscures some basic facts, as most lawmaker-constructed narratives do. Abortions, at Planned Parenthood and wherever else they're performed, aren't funded by taxpayer money. They haven't been for nearly 40 years. And in the end, the funding cuts these lawmakers tout had little impact on access to abortions.
Still, somehow, they insist they've scored a clear victory.
"We picked our battles very carefully and very measured," Berman says. "We picked them to win. And we did win."
Family-planning funding is only the latest target in Texas lawmakers' war on abortion, which this group and its predecessors have been working to make functionally illegal for decades.
"For the last 20 years, every session there's always some anti-choice legislation proposed," says Susan Hays, a Dallas attorney who's helped fight the sonogram law and is a former local Democratic chairwoman. In 2005, Panhandle Representative Warren Chisum filed a bill to protect life "from the point of conception." The bill failed, so he re-introduced it two years later, while Houston Senator Dan Patrick did the same. Both failed the same way — referred to a committee and left there to be forgotten.
This session, abortion bans were back on the table. But, like previous efforts, the bans "have been fairly easy to defeat, because they're so hardcore," Hays says. "There are plenty of moderate Republicans, even pro-life Republicans, who think they go too far, and [the bills] are quietly killed."
Instead, over the years, lawmakers have increasingly settled for trying to make abortions harder to get, through an ever-more tangled thicket of restrictions and conditions. The first significant step came in 2003, when Governor Rick Perry signed the Woman's Right to Know Act, requiring doctors to tell women seeking abortions about alternatives, and to give them material stating that abortion might increase their risk of breast cancer — a medically dubious claim disputed by virtually every major medical body. The law also put in place a 24-hour waiting period.
In 2004, lawmakers passed a law requiring teenagers under 18 to notify their parents before receiving an abortion. Two years later that morphed into a "parental consent" clause, which was criticized by pro-choice groups for its potential effects on teens who are from abusive homes or are victims of incest — kids who might fear telling their parent, lest it lead to abuse or worse. A judicial bypass exception was created, allowing pregnant teens to ask a judge to waive the consent requirement. But studies show that the bypass system often fails teens who don't know about it or can't maneuver the courts system to successfully lobby a judge.
First a quote "Let's lynch the landlord". We put these idiots in office, next time around let's take them out. Why can't the public be allowed to impeach these people for not acting in our best interests? Why I ask you!?
I agree that abstinence COULD solve this problem if practiced by everyone. However, contrary to popular notion, no society has ever achieved. In the same sense, if all people were willing to contribute to a common good regardless of personal gain, communism COULD have succeeded. The problem is, you have to construct laws that adapt to the realities of society and humanity, not just laws that would work in a utopian protestant society. Review the statistics between college students that received sexual education and use birth control and prophylactics versus those that depend wholly on abstinence. The latter fall into dire straights. They aren't ignorant, or stupid, or immoral. They are just human, and in that they fail to abstain. Two of the underpinnings of conservative politics is the end of the welfare state and the reduction of crime. Cut off access to birth control, expand the population below the poverty line, and see what happens to welfare and crime.
You are totally missing the point here....Teenagers need to be educated on abstinence, not comprehensive sex education like Planned Parenthood promotes due to the high risk of STDs they can contract...why destory your health at a very young age with STD's....Planned Parenthood is not about wellness....
Why not educate teenagers on the high art of poetic courtship, the private excitement of nuanced romance, honor, commitment, the primacy of the marriage bed, the love and wealth of children, family and the final joy of creating a legacy home for your progeny? These are the things that are squandered with a culture of fornication and sacrificed to abortionist's table along with the "unwanted" child. Without that sort of positive counterbalance, the logic of abstinence will be lost on this generation. Sorry...
Or... why not teach them something that works instead of all the things that have never worked in the past... for years and years and years.
The problem inherent with a "solution" (if I'm permitted to severely misappropriate the word) such as the one you propose, is that these truths are wholly self-evident to even the basest of these incessantly propagating Neanderthals. They are already utterly convinced that having a child will fortify their flimsy relationships -- which it doesn't always. Teenagers' eyes are veiled as it is with romance and faulty convictions; they don't need it spelled out for them.
The logic of abstinence is not lost to anyone: the will to practice it is. Simple accidents and even wanton fornication were not newly introduced by this or any other generation. They have simply *been*, since we first discovered for what purpose our genitalia were designed.
Does that make abortion okay? Of course not. Abortion is not okay -- and I doubt even the doctors who perform them would qualify the operation as "okay." But it is possible -- and it does give a person (a living, thinking, breathing person) another opportunity to make amends -- to correct their life until they feel they are ready to support a child, build a family, and nurture a proper legacy.
Then there isn't a problem.
Different strokes for different folks.
We should all just mind our own garden. Everyerything's good in my family. No one getting abortions here. Everyone's happily married with kids, houses, careers...all good Church-going folks so why worry?
I hoped for a change and now it's all good.
What a complete mess. Sodom and Gomorrah seems like a Menonite retirement community compared to the sexual practices that have become the norm in polite society here in the US. And the Good Lord only knows the suffering that the women and the little children, both natural born and pre-born, are enduring because of it.
It seems to me that the mothers of the women who are being convinced to submit to lifestyle abortions should be talking some sense to their daughters before they hop into bed with a serial impregnator and end up with their feet in the abortioninst's stirups.
Young Man: Is your gratification the only thing you care about?
Young Woman: Is no fault fornication really worth all this pain?
All of us: Is the foetus really not a person? As a former foetus myself, I find a direct connection to be irrifutable.
Mothers: Will you not regret this for the rest of your life?
Lord help us all.
Read freakonomics....there is a chapter regarding the connection between lack of family planning, and eventual skyrocketing of crime...Why? If a mother thinks she is not emotionally or financially fit to have a child, she is probably right. The stats for that child are not usually encouraging. Limit access to the pill and see how this state looks in 20 years.
Well there is a lot left out of this article. Do you think you might check on some other data. I don't disagree with the points made, I just think things are missing. One large missing element is the lack of reporting child abuse and rape of a minor. When a 15 year old has a baby, there is someone responsible. With just a few questions it is possible to find out who is the father and who was the first sexual partner and when. Often times the first partner is 10-20 years older, but that rarely is investigated and the preditors just continue because it is never reported. I wonder why.
xavez101...well, keep your knees together, and don't date jerks. you make the choices AS A WOMAN...they guy is a sperm donor if he has NO RELATIONSHIP to the woman other than sex...and the woman who puts out free and wanton sex is the one who CREATED the problem.
I think maybe the State Government is trying to get out of the SEX business and let INDIVIDUALS be responsible for what they do that creates unwanted babies. Maybe it will take several generations of terrible problems for girls, women, and guys to learn that there are consequences to sexual acts, and if they get the consequences, rather than a free and quick disposal process...just MAYBE the CAUSE will get cured instead of making it EASIER to have unwanted pregnancies. Anyone with a rape or incest pregnancy is ABLE to get an abortion...and if those things caused the pregnancy, the LAW needs to be INTIMATELY involved with prosecuting the PERPETRATOR severely.
Abortion clinics are a temporary solution to a BIG underlying social PROBLEM....
Indigent patients can take their Medicaid to any other medical clinic that accepts Medicaid. Women don't need Planned Parenthood or specialized family planning clinics. http://youtu.be/UqLL-v0JpY0
Plenty of money in this world Anna, seems to me if you really believed in this you use your bully pulpit(granted, few really read the Dallas Observer as print is dying, manly from poor writing) , gather up enough rich folk which Texas and the rest of the USA has and find the funding privately and there's your abortion palace........
You have more power than anyone of us posting here, seems to me a lot of people are dying for a abortion(so that pleases the left wingers), there is money in it(that pleases the right wingers), heck they can name it the Anna's "Grip um and rip um" Abortion parlor, think of how the D.O. can benefit, along with all the "Escort" advertising revenue already coming in the a new revenue stream keeps the lights on at the D.O.........you can do it Anna since your parents didn't elected to abort you, so I expect action not words, it's all there for the taking...maybe the Rangers will let you throw out the ceremonial fetus at the opening day next year....it's gold Anna.....gold
I've never gotten any pol to focus on what our world would be like if we HAD the 55million roaming the streets, people who were so unwanted they were aborted.
As a secret liberal told me, "Nobody ever has, and I'm damn sure not gonna be the first!"
this is what u get when lawmakers play god...i say this wholeheartedly: when one of ur own gets pregnant due to horrible circumstances,,,what will u say then,,tough shit girl? handle it,,, i think not...somehow u'll call the doc u have on the side and take care of it,,,,maybe then u'll relize what a fool u were to pass such a STUPID law...Texas lawmakers suck!
It astonishes me that people believe they have ANY say in what is already a wrenching decision for a woman. Forcing a woman to carry something She does not want within her body for nine months is a form of imprisonment with cruel and unusual treatment.At a pregnancy center in Florida the youngest client was 12. She had been repeatedly raped by her father. Add the lifelong mental damage caused by the incestous rapes and add the confusion, terror, and agony the girl will suffer during pregnancy and birth and you create a permanently damaged child. And with the percentage of birth defects increasing sharply with each year younger the birth mother, you virtually guarantee a life of misery and dependance for the child. Many such people who live with pain and torment support the right to die. By enforcing your will, you ruin so many lives. And you don't care. As long as you get what you want.By the way, watch how many politicians quickly flop if public opinion swings to pro-choice.
People who don't support abortion are not all "anti-choice". That's like saying that people who support abortion are anti-life.
Ending a life without that life's consent/choice isn't right. Please remove your political blinders from the discussion.
So then, Cody, which are you? Are you anti-choice or anti-life? Also, what is your position on our current wars around the globe and all of the folks that didn't get a choice in whether they would be shot at or bombed by "Reaper" drones.
I'm personally anti-abortion. Per my previous post, I'm not "anti-choice" or "anti-life". By your logic you would be anti-choice if you support laws against stealing, killing, etc. because the laws have taken away an individual's "choice" to do whatever they want.
My point is that there isn't "pro-choice" or "pro-life" because pro-choice supporters support life in general, and pro-life supporters support choice in general.
Regarding this issue, you're either for abortion or against it.
I obviously don't support innocent lives lost by way of drones, murders, terrorism...or abortion. The lives of innocent babies take priority over the convenience of adults.
As my original post suggested, please remove political blinders or you'll continue to label and stereotype people however the media tells you to.
CAUSE THEY DIDN'T MAKE IT, LOBAR....YOU BREAK IT, YOU BOUGHT IT. YOU WANT THE KIDS, ADOPT THEM YOURSELF. Taxpayers and citizens do not responsibility in ANY way for a woman having a pregnancy unless they were the SPERM donor. Get that clear....NONE.
Cody,,,and all pendejos like u....i don't see or hear all u pro-lifers lining up to adopt all the kids that r available here in texas,,,,,what up???
Look, in order for conservatives to live in a world where they can feel superior to someone else, there has to be an "underclass". What better way to make sure there is always a sufficient number of folks to look down their nose upon than to eliminate the ability of the "underclass" to manage their reproductive lives?
After all, if they were worthy and deserving of comprehensive health-care, Jesus surely would have made sure they were wealthy enough to purchase a quiet, discreet abortion from that *hush hush* Highland Park OBGYN that'll take care of it for you "all nice and quiet like" and still greet you as a "Friend in The Lord" at Prestonwood on Sunday morning.
Completely sympathetic with the plight of women seeking family planning and health services due to the zealots in DC and Austin. De-funding PP will, in the end as the article says, result in more abortions.
That being said, PP's use of statistics is misleading and makes it seem they're trying to hide something. This "97% of services" meme (as in 97% of services are not for abortion) needs to go away. 97% of services do not involve abortion if one considers each birth control perscription, condom hand-out, doctor visit as a service. But read PP's own report. Look at the number of people (women) who use their services in a year and look at the number of abortions in a year. On that basis, about 30% of their clients obtain abortions in a year. PP should own up to it and not try to hide behind a meaningless statistic like "97%".
There is a big difference between abortion and death penalty. Babies in the womb are innocent of any crime and people who murder FORFEIT their right to live. Yea there are some who are innocent who are put to death but that's just our lovely judicial system for you. Even in incest and rape, its not the the child fault! (omg no she didnt). If there were a crate full of puppies and a newly pregnant lady and I chose to kill the puppies instead of the baby people would be in an uproar about me killing the puppies and a lot of you would think its ok to kill the unborn baby if the woman "chooses" to do so. That's not the way it should be people. I'm just sayin...
So Sonni how many children have you adopted? None I bet. Most anti choice are more pro birth than pro life in that once the child is born they turn their backs on them. Some one else’s child. and their problem. There is only a hand full of people who I will even listen to who object to a woman’s choice regarding HER pregnancy-they are those who have adopted not one but several unwanted children into their household. While I do not agree with them I must confess that at least they are not HYPOCRITS like the majority of anti choice.
THE WOMAN'S CHOICE WAS WHETHER OR NOT TO KEEP HER KNEES TOGETHER, MISTER MEAN....AFTERWARDS, SHE GETS TO OWN THE CONSEQUENCES....IF SHE WAS RAPED, THE LAW STEPS IN, AND SHE CAN ABORT THE RAPE FETUS....THE CHOICE WAS HERS IN THE FIRST PLACE.....ALL PREGNANT WOMEN ARE NOT VICTIMS.
I DON'T THINK THERE WERE 55 MILLION RAPES AND INCEST PREGNANCIES IN THE USA...BUT THAT IS THE NUMBER OF ABORTIONS....YOU DO THE MATH....VICTIMIZATION IS AN EXCUSE OF THE MASSES.
So you have not adopted ANY children to support your beliefs against abortion. You don't like sex education in the schools you don't want contraceptives used either you just want to shove your beliefs down others throats so that you can claim that you are going heaven on others backs. You have NO concept of what issues that the woman in question must go through in HER pregnancy but YOU think that YOU know what’s best for us all. I really hate those who in most cases can not run their own lives and think that they should get some practice sticking their noses in other's business and trying to make choices that they will have to live with. Perhaps you would be happier in one of those middle eastern countries where the women are forced be clad in burkas
I bet that comment about "SHE GETS TO OWN THE CONSEQUENCES" make you feel real good JOSHUA. You seem really self righteous piece of work to me..
So where are you when those news reports about some child being beaten to death by their step father or the mother's boy friend. I guess that that is her responsibly too. After all you (and your ilk) are only pro birth and once the child is born it they get to OWN THE CONSQUENCES and you are absolved.
I agree with you. So you take a women, who through stupidity, laziness, age, immaturity,drunken drugged state of mind, whatever; say she gets pregnant like a dumb ass. So, she decides she can't raise a baby, she's not even smart enough to not get pregnant, so she decides to end the pregnancy, only she can't, there's not an option for her. So she is stuck being preganant. Pre-natal vitamins and regular doctor visits? Please, those cost a lot of money. So, she's stuck-no insurance, no chance but to ride this pregnancy out. 9 months later, she is burdened with an infant. Maybe she wants her party time back, maybe she has to work, maybe she suffers post partum depression,-anywho, so who is looking out for this baby? And don't be so naive to think she has a support network, seriously folks, have you read the news. Abused, neglected babies, boyfriend of mom kills baby,etc. The majority of these kids end up in horrible situations. And where are those God-fearing, Pro-life folks that forced this mom into the "conditions" of her situation? It's sad that these kids face abortion after birth. Slow and abusive.
I think that your posting paint you as a cretin Joshua. Ah yes a real pro life comment like telling her to commit suicide too. I bet that makes you feel close to God.
WELL, SINCE SHE IS SUCH A CRETIN, HER PARENTS CAN RAISE THE CHILD LIKE THEY RAISED HER...OR SHE CAN JUST COMMIT SUICIDE AND SOLVE HER OWN PROBLEM WHILE PREVENTING HER STUPIDITY FROM MAKING MORE POOR CHOICES. HEY....WHEN DO PEOPLE OLD ENOUGH TO GET PREGNANT START TAKING CHARGE OF THEIR OWN LIVES....IF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL ARE THE CAUSE....EXCUSE ME...BUT NOT ONLY IS IT NOT SOCIETIES PROBLEM, BUT THE CHILD WILL LIKELY BE DAMAGED TOO....AND THIS PERSON GETS TO WALK FREE AND DO IT AGAIN.....NOT ON MY NICKLE AND NOT WITH MY PERSONAL PERMISSION.
I would not discount the lack of sex education (which the anti choice people are in favor of too) and the albescence only ideology that they seem to preach. It seems to me that those who are anti choice are just plain messed up in terms of sex in general.
So let's just get all the stupid, lazy, young, immature women who drink and or do drugs, round them up, and get their tubes tied. That would prevent any sort of unplanned pregnancy. It's a false logical argument to say that because I do not support abortion, I must adopt a baby. The world needs more personal accountability. You don't want a child - keep your legs closed.
And yes - I do make exceptions in the cases of rape and incest, and grave danger to the mother.
These Pro-lifers have just kicked the abortion down the road. It reappears later on in life which the state now calls (as humane): THE DEATH PENALTY! Where are these insane Pro-lifers when the injection starts at the prisons.
Isn't it awful that they're putting the life of a defenseless child in front of the convenience of an adult?
How dare them!
Really? They're putting the life of a defenseless child in front of the convenience of an adult?
It's really convenient to be raped and find out you're pregnant from it. I got lucky... I miscarried.
So what other programs are they instituting for the child? I don't see the adoption system being reformed, or any child welfare programs being submitted... So obviously, FORCING a female to have a child they can't care for is much more humane. It's much better to force females to carry children that may kill them due to medical conditions. It's much better to force females to carry children that they can't care for, that later end up dead from neglect, or in the prison system.
I'm sorry, maybe I've missed the convenience part of this... I've never known an abortion, which is a life changing, soul shattering decision that rational women have to make, to be a convenience.
SOMEHOW....ALL RAPED WOMEN THAT GET PREGNANT SEEM TO HAVE HAD NOTHING AT ALL TO WHERE THEY WERE, WHAT THEY WERE DOING, AND WHY UNTIL SUDDENLY THEY DISCOVERED THEY WERE "RAPED"......55 MILLION WOMEN DID NOT GET "RAPED" SWEETIE...BUT THEY PROBABLY TOLD THE ABORTIONIST THAT THEY DID....UNWILLING TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR RIDING THE SNAKE ON THEIR OWN VOLITION.