Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark court case that originated in Texas with Norma McCorvey and ultimately led to the Supreme Court sweeping away a number of state and federal abortion restrictions. Because of Roe, terminating a pregnancy in the first trimester is between a woman and her doctor alone; by the second trimester, the court ruled, a state can impose some restrictions on the procedure.
But today isn't just the anniversary of a single court case. It's also a chance for conservative lawmakers and pundits in Texas to score political points by competing to see who can put out the most over-the-top press release detailing their sentiments on the "tragedy" of abortion.
Governor Rick Perry kicked things off yesterday with his own statement , which he presumably wrote while rending his garments and placing ashes in his mouth.
"Roe v. Wade paved the way for the loss of more than 54 million innocent lives, with more than a million added to that total with each passing year. This catastrophic loss of life is a grim testament to judicial activism, and a tragic stain on our national conscience. In Texas, we've worked hard to strengthen our abortion laws to the greatest extent possible under Roe v. Wade. We will continue working to empower families and protect our children's future, until the day abortion is nothing more than a tragic footnote in our nation's history."
Not to be outdone, Tea Party dreamboat Ted Cruz put out this wordy number, which reads, in part:
"Defending life, at its core, includes protecting both the unborn child and his or her mother from an irreversible injustice. ??We cannot know how many inventors, musicians, scientists, athletes, physicians, and entrepreneurs were never allowed to breathe their first breath of life. We cannot know the medical cures, artistic masterpieces, thriving businesses, and life-transforming charities that never came into existence."
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(The double question marks are his own.)
Semi-accurate historian David Barton and his organization Wallbuilders also got in on the act, decrying Roe as "insidious" and calling for a national hour of prayer this afternoon. That's in addition to the various rallies and marches being held by the Liberty Institute-backed group Texas Values, including a march you may have stumbled across in downtown Dallas this past Saturday.
Glenn Beck, meanwhile, hosted anti-abortion activist Lila Rose on his show yesterday, where she referred to Roe as "the horrible Supreme Court decision that took away the fundamental human rights for the child in the womb."
In the midst of all this grandstanding, Texas continues its battle against abortion by royally messing up the Women's Health Program, which has nothing whatsoever to do with abortion. Happy anniversary, everybody.