There's no shortage of Rick Perry cringe-worthy moments out there, but today the governor stooped to an all-time low. What he said is worse than the time he wore a Brokeback Mountain jacket to spur hate against gays in the military, the time he gave a speech wasted, and...uh...what's the third one again? "Oops."
While trying to defend an extreme anti-abortion bill that would make the medical procedure virtually impossible to get in the state of Texas, he decided to take a jab at filibuster hero and pink sneaker afficiendo, Wendy Davis. After she spent a total of 11 hours speaking without eating, drinking, using the restroom, sitting, or even leaning, Senator Davis destroyed SB5, a bill that would force the closure of most abortion clinics in Texas and ban abortion after 20 weeks. Even though Rick Perry's bill was filibustered by his own citizens and Senator Wendy Davis, he's showing no sign of backing down. He's determined to make this extremely controversial bill into law during a(nother) special session on Monday.
But wait, it gets worse. In addition to being committed to perpetuating the war on women in the state of Texas, Rick Perry is also devoted to personal attacks on Wendy Davis. In an attempt to displace Dylan Byers as America's most relentless mansplainer, Rick Perry decided to shame the Senator for being a teenage mom and use her life experience to discredit her position during a speech the National Right to Life convention.
"Who are we to say that children born in the worst of circumstances can’t lead successful lives? [...] Even the woman who filibustered the Senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. She’s the daughter of as single woman, she was a teenage mother herself. She managed to eventually graduate from Harvard Law School and serve in the Texas Senate. It’s just unfortunate that she hasn’t learned from her own example: that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential, and that every life matters," he said.
In other words, Rick Perry thinks that the cycle of poverty and teenage single motherhood should teach Wendy Davis about the sanctity of anti-abortion laws. He thinks that she should have "learned from her own example" and join him in forcing millions of other young teenagers into motherhood too. How noble.
Another noteworthy moment in his sick speech came when Rick Perry boldly claimed that forcing women to have unsafe abortions is a human rights issue. "Some have tried to make this a partisan issue. It’s not. This is a human rights issue, and too important a cause to allow the unruly actions of a few to stand in its way," he told the audience.
Is Rick Perry fighting for his anti-abortion bill for his constituents? Nope. Nothing suggests Texans feel strongly about having more restrictions on abortion. Actually, surveys indicate the exact opposite. A bi-partisan poll conducted between June 17th and 19th 2013 found that 80% of voters didn't want a special session and that a majority didn't want more abortion legislation. More than 63% of them think that Texas has enough abortion laws and only 34% trust the governor when it comes to women's health. A huge majority (74%) of voters believe that a decision to have an abortion should remain between "a woman, her family, and her doctor—not by politicians." Last time I checked, Rick Perry doesn't have a medical degree (nor does he even know the difference between Lybia and Lebanon), so who gives him the right to determine who should get an abortion? Medical professionals don't even support the bill. Both the Texas Medical Association AND the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have both voiced concern over the passing of this bill. Again, what makes Rick Perry better suited to make women's health decisions more than medical experts? In the words of Wendy Davis, the governor needs to get out of "the vagina business" or go to medical school before he can make decisions on behalf of Texas women.
If the polls suggest that the citizens of Texas don't want this bill and that medical professionals are against it too, what explains Perry's tyrannical anti-woman crusade? It's both simple and depressing: 2016. Have you noticed that the special session just so happens to be the day he's expected to announce his plans about a potential presidential run? Coincidence? I doubt it.
Rick Perry seems ready to do anything to indulge his radical right-wing support lobby, even if it means throwing Texas women under the bus and engaging in pricey partisan pandering. It's all about him. It's not about women's health, it's not about unborn babies, it's about money and power. His own. It's petty, insidious and utterly disgraceful.
Let's end Rick Perry's anti-woman reign and make sure that he can't buy votes by trivializing women's health. Sign the Planned Parenthood petition and commit to vote against any senator who supports SB5. Don't forget to join the thousands of people live-tweeting their outrage online.
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