The Texas Senate votes Friday or Saturday on an anti-abortion bill the House approved Wednesday, 96-49. Declares Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst: “We’re not in the filibuster range right now, and we’re going to pass this bill.” When it happens, Gov. Rick Perry will add his cheerful endorsement to the process. Abortions later than the 20th week of pregnancy (rather than the 24th, under present law) are supposed to cease.
Of course they won’t, because the “reproductive rights” lobby—which claims to speak for all women except, possibly, Michelle Bachmann—means immediately to contest the law in court as a usurpation of the Roe v. Wade regime.
That might be called the worst of the matter, but it isn’t, really, because the debate in Texas, ever since Wendy Davis’ pink-sneakered filibuster against a previous incarnation of the measure, has reminded us how tightly shut are multifarious minds to the prospective value of unborn lives.
The acclaim garnered by Davis was bad enough: all the hootin’ and hollerin’ over how one Democratic woman shut down the legislative process for just long enough to let the session expire. Davis the other night reminded us how sadly sterile is the rhetoric of pro-choice. “Our partisan leadership in charge,” said she, “does not respect the rights of all Texans to make decisions about themselves and their bodies.”
Well, as we know, all of that is pro-choice boilerplate: “bodies,” “rights,” “decisions.” Nothing—not a syllable—about incipient lives and what might be owed them. The mental depth at which such ideologically freighted assumptions are buried is so great you have to wonder if we’ll ever dig out.
Then there was the woman testifying against the Texas bill a few days ago. As she saw it, the law’s proponents wanted to “force your way inside the bodies of Texas women. . . . degrading women and girls to sex objects and brood mares and bald eagles and leather wallets.” (As to what she means by “bald eagles and leather wallets,” I have no clue; but you get the part about brood mares.) By strengthening protections for the unborn, lawmakers “have radicalized thousands of us.” And hear this, all you oppressors and assorted barbarians: “Women and their allies are coming for you.”
Boy, that’s high-toned debate. Madison and Hamilton would have loved it, right?
The back-and-forth over HB2 makes plain that the “reproduction rights” folk who started the clamor that won’t go away, talk in their own language about ideas and ideals that attain clarity only in their own minds. “Ears have they and hear not,” as I believe the Psalmist observed.