The Spectacle Blog

Unruly Mob Thwarts the People’s Will in Texas

By on 6.26.13 | 3:57PM

It was one of the most bizarre moments in an American legislative chamber in recent years: A raucous mob literally disrupted the Texas State Senate’s final vote on a bill by cheering, clapping, and chanting so loudly that order was lost on the floor.

The bill, SB5, would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of gestation and ensured that Texas abortion clinics were held to the same standards as regular surgical hospitals. The rationale for the ban was that unborn babies are able to feel pain at 20 weeks, but as noted earlier, the media rarely mentioned that sort-of, kind-of important facet of the bill.

Once again, the latest stories from CNN, the New York Times, and USA Today never mentioned the P-word, even though the opening lines of the bill declare that its intention is to protect unborn babies from pain.

The “controversial” topic of fetal pain isn’t the focus at present, however. The focus now is the falsehood that somehow a couple-thousand unruly pro-abortion (if we are “anti-abortion” in their eyes, then that is their label) fanatics who literally dismantled the bill somehow represent the state of Texas. Twitter was flooded with tweets declaring that the voice of the people had been heard last night. Some blogs declared it the “people’s filibuster.” Rolling Stone mentioned that between the on-scene protesters and the “180,000 people around the country” who watched the filibuster’s livestream, the “Republicans could sustain the fiction [of the bill's success] only so long." After all, the people spoke.

Well, actually they didn’t; a minority mob did. As much as the left desperately wants to paint Texas blue, that just isn’t the case. Except for places like, well, Austin (where the state senate was voting), Texas is overwhelmingly red. Republicans control the governorship. They control the legislature. And they have done so for years.

Additionally, on the topic of abortion, a plurality of Texans take conservative positions. In a recent University of Texas / Texas Tribune poll, 62 percent of respondents supported banning abortion after 20 weeks of gestation. On abortion rights more generally, 59 percent of respondents either want abortion to never be legal, or legal only in narrow circumstances (i.e. rape or incest, or where need is clearly established), while only 36 percent thought abortion was a woman's personal choice.

The fact is, the Texas people voted in the same Republican legislators who created and almost passed (and probably eventually will pass) SB5. That is the voice of the people.

But kudos to the throngs of progressive, pro-women (except unborn women, er, fetuses) protesters who probably temporarily stopped a “draconian proposal” that would ban 1.5 percent of current abortions (the known amount of abortions passed after 20 weeks) and make abortion clinics on par with regular hospitals.

The problem here, once again, is not the fact that this bill would be so darn restrictive or reduce so many abortions (remember, it would be only 1.5 percent that would be illegal). It’s the fact that, as Daniel Allott said earlier today, admitting unborn babies feel pain humanizes them. It tears down the façade of viability: the anchor that justifies abortion.

And that is not an option for the pro-abortion side, because it turns the victims of abortions into babies and not fetuses. Babies are protected by law. Fetuses are not. Abortion survives on that flimsy, meaningless distinction.

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