There are many layers of absurdity that surround the abortion debate at the state Capitol over the past several days. There was state Representative Jodie Laubenberg's claim that rape kits clean out pregnancy and Republican senators' flimsy rationale for ending Wendy Davis' epic filibuster. There was the deafening, 15-minute roar from the Senate gallery that prevented lawmakers from taking a vote in the final minutes of the special session and the fact that Davis may have been peeing the whole time. And now, we're about to do it all over again.
There's too much there to properly unpack, but The Daily Show gave it a shot last night. "It's just like the plot of Frank Capra's classic movie, Mrs. Smith Wants an Abortion," host John Oliver declares admiringly as he opened the segment, before wondering if concern over proposals that would outlaw abortion after 20 weeks and effectively close 27 of the state's 32 abortion providers is just a bit overblown.
"Hold on. Is five abortion clinics in 269,000 square miles really so bad?" he asked. "Think about it: Texas would still have three more abortion clinics than it has Six Flags amusement parts.
"So, if Senator Davis can talk 13 hours, Texas women won't have to drive 13 hours to get an abortion," he continued. "OK. How hard can that be?"
Then Oliver turns to Republican attempts to end it by saying Davis strayed off topic, which he calls "one of the shadiest moves of all time."
"What? This is a debate about abortion restrictions," Oliver says. "How are Planned Parenthood and forced sonograms off topic? That's like saying 'Talk to me about White Castle, but don't mention diarrhea.'"
And then, there was the reported attempt to change computer records to make it look like the vote passing abortion restrictions took place before midnight, not after.
Here's Oliver: "They simply believe that if late one night when you're swept away by your emotions, you make a stupid mistake, you should always have a chance to fix it later and not have to live with the consequences."