New Texas Abortion Law and Fighting Rogue Doctors


Thomas Roberts unleashes the fury

CBS covers Texas bill

Wendy Davis responds to Jodie Laubenberg’s lies

Clinic closures reported on Rachel Maddow

Steve Toth explains sex ed

O’Reilly has a weird idea of how you get an abortion

Sandy Rios has a theory

Oh no, not “community organizers”!

Satan, sure

On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be doing more coverage of you guessed it, Texas. Also, the weird right wing reactions are piling up. In addition, RH Reality Check’s own Sharona Coutts will be on to talk about her investigation into a rogue doctor that legitimate doctors fruitlessly tried for years to shut down.

Sometimes, you just have to let go with an epic, awesome, truth-to-power rant. Thomas Roberts on MSNBC let one go that I suspect you’ll all enjoy.

  • Roberts *

Speak, man! I do think that people are beginning to grasp that they are overlapping issues, but it’s nice to have a news anchor just lay it out so straightforwardly all the same.

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Well, despite the long, difficult fight put up by pro-choicers every step of the way, it looks like Texas is going to pass a ridiculous and utterly devastating new series of abortion restrictions. Despite a series of protests and polling showing most Texans disapprove of using the special session process for passing this bill, the Texas Senate approved a bill on Friday July 12th, to be sent to Gov. Rick Perry to sign.

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CBS News went on to interview Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, the woman who introduced the bill to the Texas House in the first place. She openly lied.

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They included no follow-up questions about her attitudes about abortion generally, ones that might help us understand if she’s lying about her intentions, or if she’s really so stupid as to think that the 85,000 abortions a year that are performed in Texas can be handled by the five clinics that this regulation will allow to stay open. For those playing at home, that is 17,000 abortions per clinic per year.  That is 327 abortions a week per clinic. That means, for a clinic that’s open 6 days a week for 8 hours a day, that’s around 7 abortions PER HOUR to keep up with demand. Nor did they ask her about relevant issues, such as her vote to defund contraception, which she defended by whining incoherently about “non-babies”, implying that there’s somehow a baby shortage in Texas that needs to be addressed through coerced birth.

Sen. Wendy Davis addressed Laubenberg’s lies about how she’s not trying to close clinics with her bill that just happens to close 37 out of 42 clinics in the state.

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Indeed, there’s every reason to believe that women are going to turn to unsafe or uncertain methods to try to abort their pregnancies. We know this because they already are. As was reported in the Texas Tribune last year and Bloomberg News this week, a black market for abortion drugs is already thriving in Texas. Women cross the border into Mexico to buy ulcer medications that induce miscarriage at pharmacies, which don’t require a prescription to sell that drug. Or, in some cases, they even go to flea markets and get drugs that are supposed to be this drug, but really, who knows?

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Obviously, if you go to a pharmacy, you’re at least getting the right drug, but the pharmacist may not be able to help you figure out the appropriate dosage. This can lead to incomplete miscarriage, which the clinic in McAllen, TX is already reporting they’ve been seeing patients showing up and needing to have fixed. But if they shut down, the only thing left is the emergency room, which for uninsured women is way, way too expensive. And scary, too, because women in these situations definitely don’t want some random doctor they don’t know at the E.R. quizzing them about what they’ve been up to. Abortion clinics are at least safer, because you’re more likely to see them as on your side. Luckily, I do think this will get hung up in court for awhile, though that means Texas will be spending a huge amount of taxpayer money trying to defend a law Texans don’t even want.

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insert interview

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While the biggest theme of the recent attacks on reproductive rights across the nation is the, you know, problems that occur if women can’t get access to basic reproductive health care, the second biggest theme is how downright dumb the anti-choice side can get. There’s just no other way to put it. Every week, my RSS reader just piles up with mountains of people saying the most foolish things imaginable about women, sex, and how bodies work, and usually saying it with the confidence that comes from no one ever telling you just how wrong you really are, at least to your face. Because we both need a laugh and need to know where these fools are coming from, a sampling.

Rep. Steve Toth, a Republican anti-choicer who helped pass the anti-abortion bill in Texas, got into a debate after they voted the bill out of committee with a Democratic representative over whether or not sex education prevents unwanted pregnancy. He said no, and told this story:

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Yep, he said that sex education causes pregnancy by getting otherwise chaste teenagers so horny they can’t help themselves. In the era of porn on every phone, of course. Just in case you’re sincerely worried that sex ed is taking otherwise asexual kids and causing a flip to switch in their brains that makes them sexual, rest assured, the evidence says no. Research shows kids who get comprehensive sex education and kids who have abstinence-only both have sex, though the former is better at using contraception. So basically, the opposite of his anecdote.

Bill O’Reilly had some interesting ideas about how getting an abortion works in Texas.

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Actually, Roe v. Wade allows you to legally have an abortion until viability, period. You don’t have to show up and give a reason like, uh, a hand sprain. They’re trying to distort the issue and imply that you can practically give birth to a live baby at 12 weeks, but really, at that point you have literally half a year to go. It takes forty weeks to gestate a baby, but this sort of rhetoric, coupled with implying that women are supposed to justify themselves when they aren’t, is about confusing the situation and trying to paint women who have abortions are irresponsible, lying sluts. The realities are much different. Most women have abortions in the first nine weeks. After 20 weeks, it’s almost strictly a combination of women who couldn’t afford earlier abortions or women who have medical problems. But this entire discussion is a distraction anyway, because the biggest part of the bill is shutting down nearly all the clinics in Texas, most of whom have a cut-off of around 12 weeks anyway.

Of course, part of the problem with the anti-choice strategy now is they’re pretending that they’re closing clinics to “help” women, which is transparently false and kind of hard to argue with so many women railing against you. So Sandy Rios just made up a hell of a whopper.

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The myth that women are asexual creatures who only want sex to make babies and the myth that feminists are dirty sluts seem to be at odds, but they’re really not. Conservatives just assume that women who do admit to liking sex are unnatural and wrong, and the law needs to punish us by forcing us to become mothers, which will supposedly set us right and make us not like sex, or at least not admit to liking it, like we’re supposed to. Of course, over 60% of women who have abortions are mothers already, but that, like most facts, is just ignored. Also, the crack about Obama, who is a boring old married Dad, was, yeah. Probably racist, if it could be deciphered.

Joe Pags filled in for Glenn Beck on The Blaze, and this interview snippet with Rick Santorum is comedy gold.

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They’ve got our number! We want women to be free to control their own bodies because we’re against freedom and we want people to have basic human rights because we hate the Constitution. Santorum went on to rail against community organizers, even though churches and frankly the Founding Fathers, uh, organize communities.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, sure, whatever you need to believe edition. Anti-choicers are getting anxious because the truth about them, that they’re motivated by anxieties about women and sex and don’t care about life, is really starting to be spoken more in mainstream circles. So they’re upping, well, the intensity of their lies about the opposition. Like Matt Barber on the “Faith and Freedom” show.

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The amount of delusion you have to come up with to convince yourself that the side that produces actual doctor-murdering terrorists is “gentle” is, yeah, wow. But this is pure projection. Every time the public gets a good look at anti-choicers, the public balks in understandable disgust, so it’s not surprising to see this kind of desperate, if ineffective, spinning.

Follow Amanda Marcotte on twitter: @amandamarcotte