Open Letter to Texas State Senator Wendy Davis

Below you will find the letter I sent to Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) regarding her filibuster of SB 5. I live in Senator Davis’ district and felt it necessary to express my disappointment to her. I have already sent a copy of this letter to her official state senate email account and to her campaign email.

SB 5 was a bill under consideration by the Texas Senate that would place various restrictions on abortion, including requiring abortion clinics to meet the medical standards of surgery centers, requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles, and banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. You can read more about the bill and the filibuster here.

Please feel free to copy and paste any of this letter in your own letter to Senator Davis. Her official Texas Senate page is here, and her campaign page is www.wendydavisforsenate.com.

Dear Senator Davis:

As a registered voter in your state senate district, I want to express my disappointment in your behavior on June 25 regarding SB 5. Your filibuster attempt of nearly 11 hours demonstrates only a concern for your own interests and not the interests of the state of Texas or your constituents in Fort Worth.

As Texans, we pride ourselves in protecting the innocent, but your political maneuver demonstrates that you have no concern for the innocent ones most in need of protection—unborn children. The supposed rights of one individual should never trump the rights of another individual, even if that one cannot speak for himself/herself.

Your platitudes about protecting women’s health fall flat in light of the atrocities revealed in abortion clinics in Houston and Philadelphia in recent months. If you were truly concerned about women’s health, you would welcome strict surgical standards for abortion clinics so that no woman would ever be the victim of another Kermit Gosnell.

Finally, you and your colleagues disrespected the rule of law in the senate chamber last night as the gallery was encouraged to continue their disorderly conduct. Our own local paper described the situation with the phrase “Chaos reigns.” You and your colleagues should have personally called on the gallery to cease their disruptive behavior. If the tables were turned, you would decry the situation as outrageous.

Senator Davis, you have disappointed Texans with your behavior. You have disrespected the rule of law. You have ignored the rights of the unborn. I call on you to reverse course, support a special session of the Texas legislature, and allow SB 5 to come to a vote so that the representatives of the entire state of Texas may decide its fate.

Sincerely,

Evan Lenow

89 comments

  1. The supposed rights of one individual should never trump the rights of another individual, even if that one cannot speak for himself/herself.

    Except, of course, you have no problem with trumping the rights of all women, and telling them to sit down and shut up about it.

    For the past 30 years we’ve had study after study demonstrating that the work of Planned Parenthood prevents abortions. Were you worried about reducing numbers of abortions, wouldn’t you at least consider the views of women who argue we should keep women’s health clinics open?

    SB 5 could be called a woman-killing bill, fairly. Clinics it targets do far more cancer prevention and health preservation than abortions. There are no alternative health care delivery systems to take their place.

    Davis is brave to tell you what she’s going to do, knowing you’d vote against her, and then doing it, to defend women and good health care, and the Constitution.

    And did you notice how the GOP trampled every rule, including the hard and fast law about ending the session, in order to knock down the women trying to get a moment’s reflection?

    You missed that?

    1. Thank you for your comment, Ed. Allow me to respond.

      First, your argument is false. SB5 is not a “woman-killing bill.” In fact, nothing in the bill states that women should be killed, will be killed, or must be killed. Your argument on this point is irrational.

      Second, I never called for the rights of all women to be trumped. Did you know that more female children are aborted than male children? If anything, this bill would aid the rights of women in the womb.

      Third, if the clinics do far more work on cancer screening and health preservation, then they can focus solely on those services. The bill only requires these higher standards if they are performing abortions. Abortion is a surgical procedure. Abortion clinics should meet surgical standards for the safety of the women.

      I am actually thankful that the GOP did not ultimately push the bill through at 11:59 (or probably more correctly after midnight). I am confident that Gov. Perry will call another special session to deal with this bill and at least 2 others.

      Did you miss the chaotic behavior of the galley that prevented the senators from taking a vote. Mob rule won last night. The rule of law will win in the future.

      Have a good day, Ed.

      1. As you stated, the intent of the bill is to shut the clinics down. No, once shut down, they can’t do any other preventive services.

        Contrary to your claims, the bill is aimed to eliminate the Constitutional rights of living women. I hear people wail about a million abortions a year. We used to have nearly that many dead women from botched abortions each year, and as the recent Philadelphia story instructs us, where safe and legal abortions are unavailable, the back-alley butchers are ready to move in.

        So it’s a trade off. You choose to kill a million women a year in the futile hope that it might reduce abortions.

        Meanwhile, the actual studies of abortion rates indicate that where abortions are safe and legal, abortion rates drop, and actual numbers of abortions decline.

        I’m sure Gov. Perry will call another special session. No, he won’t admit he hates women. But the effect is the same.

        In the meantime, we know where you could be putting effort, if you really wanted to reduce abortions. Bet you won’t.

      2. Ed, really? A million women killed a year from botched abortions? Come on now. Give some actual evidence. Your argument is emotional and ends with ad hominem. You can do better than that.

        Be specific. How might one reduce the number of abortions? You seem to have all the answers, so give specifics.

      3. Also, Ed, please show me exactly where I stated “the intent of the bill is to shut the clinics down.” I have scoured my blog and cannot find that quote.

        1. Read it. Not sure what you are wanting me to see.

          FYI, you have a number of comments in moderation, which I know yo know. Considering your 23 comments on this post, I will try to interact with them all as I have time. Might I suggest that you write your own post making your point on your blog.

  2. Thank you for your post and your letter. As a pregnant woman myself, I whole-heartedly support the rights to life of unborn children like the one residing in my own body. My baby is a living human being with rights to life, just as much as I am. And not only because my baby is wanted and loved. All babies, whether they are wanted by their mother or not, are living human beings deserving of rights and protection. I appreciate you for standing up for this cause, especially as a man whom many will claim have “no right” to a voice on a “women’s” issue. Well I’m the target audience of these pieces of legislation, and I say you have full right. Thank you, Evan.

  3. I have only one question to those, who worry about a woman’s rights to her own body. What about a baby’s right to his or her own? All women were embryos at some point so protecting their health should start at the womb, shouldn’t it? Unless one believes that an embryo becomes a human being 1 hour after he/she is delivered what sense does it make to grand a woman a “right” to take another person’s life?

  4. I would like to point out a couple of things.

    You chide Wendy Davis for using a filibuster. Saying that it served her own interests.

    Keep in mind, the purpose of a filibuster is to prevent the majority from stepping on the rights of the minority. Wendy Davis holds a minority position, and she fought for those rights.

    You also said she didn’t fight for Texas or her constituents. She doesn’t have to fight for Texas, only her district. She is the state senator for Fort Worth. They elected a liberal democrat woman in 2009. They reelected her in 2012 even after she engaged in a filibuster in 2010. They obviously knew what they were getting when they elected her. To say that she acted selfishly and in her own interests is misguided and disrespectful to the voters of Fort Worth.

    As for protecting the innocent, I don’t think Texas can say that. Given the fact that Texas really likes to execute people that are innocent minorities and/or mentally challenged, this statement kinda ignores reality. These sort of executions have been going down since 1863.

    As for the line about extreme cases is a rhetorical device. It implies that if we do not pass this law then abortion clinics will be hell holes. Since you seem to be the king of knowing logical fallacies in your comment section, check out false dilemma fallacy.

    As for the actions of the crowd, I wish it had went down differently. The fact is the law stood a good chance to fail in the courts due to the procedural errors of the GOP. But when you get that many people upset, they will voice their opinion. In the land of the free, home of the democratic republic, it is a sad day when the voices of the people are viewed as a hindrance,

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Daryl.

      You are right, the filibuster is a common tactic employed by the minority party. It can be used to prevent the majority from “stepping on the rights of the minority,” but it is most often used to promote a personal agenda. Based on the vote that took place after the deadline, it is clear that the majority (approximately 2/3) of the duly-elected state senators believe this law is important. Senator Davis used her filibuster on this bill and effectively squashed two other bills that would have received bipartisan approval. If she thought the bill was unconstitutional, why not let it go to a vote and then file suit against the state?

      I live in Senator Davis’ district, and I am expressing my constitutional right to disagree with her representation of me. I also know that I speak for many residents of Fort Worth. Yes, she was elected by the residents of District 10. Unfortunately, most voters don’t recognize the importance of these elections. I predict she will be looking for a new job when reelection time rolls around.

      I’ll see your false dilemma fallacy and raise you one. You said “As for protecting the innocent, I don’t think Texas can say that. Given the fact that Texas really likes to execute people that are innocent minorities and/or mentally challenged, this statement kinda ignores reality. These sort of executions have been going down since 1863.” I guess we can both be guilty.

      In fact, we often enact laws to prevent the worst case scenario. We enact laws that protect the innocent. Why not do both with SB 5?

      I am glad you see the behavior of the gallery as at least concerning. It was despicable. If the tables were turned, you would say the same thing. The problem is, you usually don’t see conservatives stoop to such behavior as the gallery expressed last night (not saying always, just usually). I have yet to hear Davis or any of her Democratic colleagues condemn the behavior of the gallery even though it was in violation of the rules for sitting there.

      1. You claim that she was essentially self serving. She is a liberal democrat that won in Tarrant County, aka a pretty conservative place.

        She has served the community of Fort Worth since 1999, and in 2010 she filibustered a budget bill. It was not a secret that she will filibuster when she feels like she needs to. And she still got reelected.

        It would be acceptable to say, as a constituent, I disagree with her. It is not acceptable to demean her character.

        Filibusters are always criticized by the majority, but we do not live in a democracy. We live in a constitutional republic. We live under the rule of law. Filibusters are very important. If the minority opinion was that “traditional marriage” is the only kind of marriage that should be recognized by the state, and they defended that position with a filibuster, you would probably agree with the filibuster.

        Then you defend your logical fallacy by saying I committed the same thing. Pointing out a hypocrisy is not a false dilemma. An example of a false dilemma would be “we have a crime problem, lets ban all guns.” it justifies an extreme position by making it appear that there are only two options. Simply calling something a false dilemma to make a point doesn’t make it so.

        Let me ask you this, and be honest with yourself. You don’t have to respond, I know what your public response will be. But I want you to think about this.

        Is this law about women’s health, or is it about stopping abortion?

        Rick Perry’s record of regulation insinuates that this is not about health regulations. The explosions in West shows that health regulations are not a priority for this administration.

        But lets get back to your question about extremes.

        We have laws in place, in Gosnell’s case, he violated the law and convicted. Our legal system is perfectly capable of handling extreme cases. Timothy McVeigh, Jeffrey Dahmer, countless of ruthless people have been tried and convicted in our legal system.

        It’s very apparent what is going on. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. You can’t ban abortion outright. So you make a law that essentially bans it, and walk away acting like you did something for the unborn.

        Even though the evidence shows that the legal status of abortion actually really doesn’t affect the numbers, we can wash our hands of this, and act like we did something ethical and right.

        What ever helps you sleep at night.

        1. Daryl,
          The law is about regulating abortion and the centers in which they are performed. As a result, it does impact women’s health in a positive sense because it insures their safety. Texas has already had its own Gosnell in Houston. It is obvious that the regulations we already have are not enough. Again, the law does not ban abortion. Point to the place in the law where it says abortion is banned. It bans abortion after 20 weeks which is the medically recognized point of viability for a baby in the womb. I don’t think that is enough, but the law is not doing what you said it is doing.

          If Planned Parenthood and the other abortion providers in Texas were concerned about women’s health, they would gladly abide by the standards for an ambulatory surgical center. They have millions of dollars at their disposal to upgrade their facilities. Other facilities that cannot afford the upgrade can continue operating as women’s health centers without performing abortions. If it is true what others have claimed that abortions are only a small portion of the services provided, they should continue to be busy. If they close it is because their actual profit came from abortions.

          1. The rules in the new law do not increase safety, security nor sanitary conditions in abortion clinics.

            If the current governor refuses to enforce laws on security, safety and sanitation in current clinics, what makes you think he’ll do it in any clinic?

            To the contrary, this bill is designed to drive out the honest, safe clinics, and turn abortion out into the back alleys.

            It’s anti-woman.

          2. How does it not increase safety, security, and sanitary conditions? They would meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. Some abortion clinics have already done that on their own. Why would they do it if they did not see it as increasing safety, security, and sanitation?

          3. What safety problem is this law designed to meet? There is no record of safety problems on the record.

            Why a solution that kills women, for a problem that does not?

          4. Houston has already had a Gosnell-type case.

            This bill does not kill women. Show me where the bill kills women. If you want to make that argument, please do so on your own blog, not mine.

            As I mentioned earlier, you should consider refuting me on your own blog. You are now at about 30 comments. Your arguments are becoming more extreme and less factual. Stick to the facts.

          5. Ed, based on this comment, I believe the discussion has run its course. Thanks for coming. Use your blog for further refutation of me. I am flattered that you have found my blog so important to demand such a large portion of your time.

          6. 1) the evidence shows that when you restrict abortion, it drives the practice underground. It’s not about “women’s health”. The World Health Organization has shown that when abortion is legal and available, abortions are safer and rates are lower. when they are illegal or unavailable, poor conditions arise. It is about trying to eliminate the practice in the dumbest way possible. You act like this law will suddenly make the Kermit Gosnell’s of the world disappear. We have laws against hijacking planes and flying them into buildings. Didn’t stop 9/11. We have current laws that deal with people in extreme cases.

            Lets actually look at some options. Because you are falling back into the false dilemma fallacy again. I really expect more from a professor.

            A) you can ban abortion outright. Not really viable or legal.
            B) you severely limit the availability, which the evidence shows does nothing to reduce the numbers of abortions, but it does dramatically decrease the safety of women. Yes, you can act like it is safer, and pat yourself on the back. And it will be safer in the 5 clinics that are open. But the hundreds of thousands of women who desire to have an abortion (which is legal) but can’t get to that clinic will be forced to either take care of it themselves, get someone unqualified to do it, or go to Mexico.
            C) you can actually do the ethical thing and promote contraception, real sex ed, proper women’s health care, and educational and financial opportunities for women.

            The evidence from both the World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute shows C actually blows A and B out of the water. But instead, you hold on to this idea. It’s shiny, it looks good. You can go back to your church and to your seminary and say “look, I am defending women’s health” when in actuality you have covered the problem up. You are putting a bandaid on an infected festering wound.

            Life’s problems are not simple. And this law seeks a simple answer. Passing a law like this spits in the face of common sense and observable evidence.

            2) 20 weeks is medically viable? Would you mind showing me a fetus that has lived after being born at 20 weeks?

            3) where their profits come from is irrelevant. abortion is legal, I’m sorry.

          7. Go to the NICU in a major city, and you will see children born 20-24 weeks struggling to survive, but being successful. Here are a couple of stories.
            21 weeks http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1021034/The-tiniest-survivor-How-miracle-baby-born-weeks-legal-abortion-limit-clung-life-odds.html
            23 weeks http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2249383/The-tiny-premature-baby-lived-doctors-recorded-weight-incorrectly-battled-alive.html
            21 weeks http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/04/21/youngest-surviving-premature-baby-leaves-hospital/

            The profits do matter. If as others have said abortion doesn’t account for much of the business of these clinics nor their profits, then they would stay open performing their other functions. If they close, it means abortion was too much of their profit to keep their doors open.

            I am not against real sex ed (when defined properly and not what happens in the public schools), proper women’s health, education, financial opportunities, etc. In fact my church works in all those areas and sponsors a women’s clinic that provides clothing, care, training, education, etc. The clinic has medical professionals who provide alternatives to abortion.

            You have created a false dilemma saying that hundreds of thousands of women will be driven underground or to Mexico for abortions. The bill provides a way for abortion clinics to remain open–uphold the standards. If abortion is such a critical option to be available in every county, then donate your money to help these clinics upgrade.

          8. Oh, and I know you didn’t address this directly in your reply to me, but saying this bill doesn’t close abortion clinics is intellectually dishonest.

            There is a difference between de facto and de jure. You are a professor, i wont give you the definition. For example, after the civil war, black people were made citizens. But they still lived under Jim Crow.

            There were many examples of de jure equality and de facto discrimination. For example, you could only vote if your father or grandfather voted before 1867.

            Sure, on paper this was a equal for all. But in practice, it achieved the goal that the administrations wanted. To keep blacks from voting.

            This is no different. On paper, it is a triumphant success for women’s health. But in practice, it undermines the constitutional rights of women to further a right wing agenda.

            And trying to say “oh it isn’t about that, it is about safety” follows the same logic that the southern racists used for 100 years after the civil war

          9. Daryl, please don’t compare this bill to Jim Crow laws–you’re smarter than that. Jim Crow laws were abhorrent. This bill attempts to set standards for a medical practice. I’m a doctor (my daughter tells me I’m the kind who can’t do anything), but I can’t perform medical procedures. If I need a knee replacement, there are standards that the doctors and facilities where that operation is performed must abide by.

            What constitutional right does this undermine. Abortion has been declared legal on the basis of a right to privacy, but abortion itself is not a constitutional right. Please show me in the Constitution where the right to abortion is granted. By your logic, even Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional. It limited abortion from the beginning. Every state places limits on abortion. Does that mean the constitutional right is being violated. If that is the case, I can’t believe someone hasn’t taken it to the Supreme Court. It must be clear if it is a constitutional right.

            Voting, now there’s a constitutional right. Jim Crow laws violated that right specifically given by the Constitution. Try a better example.

  5. Thank you for having the boldness to speak-out in an educated, respectful manner! I agree with you and plan to continue to speak-up about these and other issues myself! I applaud you and pray that your voice will be magnified across our state!

  6. Senator Wendy Davis has not disspointed this Texas woman! I am not for abortions nor did I see this bill being entirely about abortions. This is more about standing up for womens rights and not allowing the Texas state government tell us what we (women) can and cannot do with our own body. Even the author of the bill thought a hospital rape kit “cleaned a woman out” and prevented a pregnancy after being raped. (In fact all it does is gather DNA evidence, it does NOT prevent a woman from getting pregnant). Arrogant people in Texas state government have no right to control our body and make medical decisions for us!!

    1. Does that mean you have complete control over your body at all times? Should a 15-year-old girl be able to get a tattoo? Guess what. That is illegal in all 50 states. We all have limitations placed on us by government.

      In this case, no one is telling a woman what she can do with her body. They are telling abortion providers what standards they have to abide by in their clinics. This is a safety measure. You should applaud higher standards for surgical procedures. If you think the cost to update the clinics is too high, no one is preventing you from donating money to those organizations to update their clinics.

      1. You should read the bill! This is not about telling abortion providers “how to run their clinics”, it is about shutting them down! and eliminating the right for women to choose to do what they feel they need to do under whatever circumstances they are in!

          1. You asked me not to be disingenuous on this thread.

            Please do everyone the same courtesy. The bill is not intended to improve nor expand medical care to anyone; it is intended to make it impossible for clinics to operate on the incredibly tiny budgets they have to deliver health care to poor and uninsured women, and others.

            That’s why the Republicans, for the first time in Texas history on any legislative matter, threw Texans out of the hearing on the bill and shut down public testimony; that’s why the Republicans violated nearly every parliamentary rule of the Texas Senate to shut down debate with false claims, to rush a vote that was out of order under the democracy- and rights-protecting rules of the Senate, and tried to illegally claim the bill as law, before 200,000 witnesses provided ample photographic proof of their fraud.

            Is there any provision of the bill that is NOT intended to shut down clinics? Think hard about this, after Gov. Perry said yesterday that his intent is to shut the clinics down. Was he lying then? It’s not in Hebrew, and what is is in code is clear and understandable to anyone familiar with the discussion and the issues.

  7. All abortion proponents should be glad that their parents didn’t share their pro-choice views, or they might not be here today. Everyone deserves a right to life. Respect it just like Your parents respected Yours!

    1. All abortion opponents should be embarrassed to claim their own mothers were incapable of choosing correctly. What an insult to their mothers.

      Where abortion is safe and legal, abortion rates decline. In the U.S., actual numbers of abortions were in decline before these GOP assaults on the rights. If your goal is to reduce the number of abortions, you’ve lost your way.

  8. Thanks. I wrote a letter myself using some of your information and some things I have really been thinking about. I’m pro-life, but I always try to see both sides of an argument. I am unable to see both sides here.

    Here’s the important part of what I wrote the senator: “You say you care about women’s health, but you don’t support legislation requiring abortion clinics to meet the medical standards of surgery centers, a measure that could only help ensure women’s health and safety and make sure no more women end up victims of clinics like Gosnell’s. Requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles also further protects women’s health by making sure if there is an emergency during an abortion, the woman can get the life-saving care she needs. Furthermore, I cannot think of a single legitimate reason why any woman would need to wait until she was six months pregnant to abort. Five months is certainly an adequate amount of time to make this decision. Since a baby can be born at 24 weeks and survive (I know two who have done so), It does not seem unreasonable to forbid abortions at this point.

    I am an educated woman who has been racking her brain to try and figure out why anyone on either side of the abortion debate would oppose this legislation. It still allows for abortion within a quite reasonable time frame, saves babies who could otherwise survive outside the womb, and provides measures to protect women’s health.”

  9. I’ve volunteered with a Crisis Pregnancy Center in post abortion counseling. What most pro abortion people fail to acknowledge is the HARM done to the women who have “legal” abortions. The guilt and psychological damage follows them for decades. Deep in their souls they know they are killing their babies and it haunts them. I’m not being judgmental, “For all have sinned…” I among them, but until this carnage is stopped our country is in real danger. We can’t expect God’s blessings when we are living in active rebellion to what we KNOW is right.

  10. This was very well put. Thank you for the insights. Raising the standards of the clinics should be something everyone should be concerned about. I know because of this I will become more involved with the issues and voting here in Fort Worth.

  11. Well said Evan. To the commenters, especially Mr DarrelI find it quite interesting that if these “Clinics it targets do far more cancer prevention and health preservation than abortions. There are no alternative health care delivery systems to take their place.” how do you jump to the conclusion they would shut down if they were held to higher standards for their abortion services, unless this is a ‘cash cow’ they are protecting. My sister died of cancer and I know that these treatments are expensive and very profitable for the clinics that do them. The organization that treated my sister has built multiple multi-million dollar facilities of cancer treatments. If there is a market (need) for these services clinics will continue to provide them in a safe environment, but if they are just a cover story for their abortion mill, then yes, they will close and we will all be better for it.

    1. Well said Evan. To the commenters, especially Mr DarrelI find it quite interesting that if these “Clinics it targets do far more cancer prevention and health preservation than abortions. There are no alternative health care delivery systems to take their place.” how do you jump to the conclusion they would shut down if they were held to higher standards for their abortion services, unless this is a ‘cash cow’ they are protecting.

      Were it a cash cow, they’d protect it. Abortion providers don’t make profits off of it, as a rule.

      The rules requires that these clinics have what amounts to a full emergency room in the building. Have you priced emergency rooms lately? There’s a reason that even major hospitals are shutting them down.

      It’s the equivalent of requiring your dentist to have a full emergency room, in case a wisdom tooth extraction goes awry and the bleeding can’t be stopped. If your dentist were required to do that, your dentist would close down and go practice something else, somewhere else. You’d be safer, for your wisdom tooth extraction — except, you’d not have dental care.

      If abortion were a profitable business despite the hurdles, there’d be a lot more abortion providers.

      My sister died of cancer and I know that these treatments are expensive and very profitable for the clinics that do them. The organization that treated my sister has built multiple multi-million dollar facilities of cancer treatments.

      But if we required them to have an emergency room on standby in the same facility, they’d stop providing services.

      And these clinics the state is shutting down don’t do the cancer treatments — they do the prevention and screening.

      On one level, you appear to be conscious of the issues; but when it’s something other than your sister’s cancer, you’re content to let poor women go without care. What would Jesus say?

      In a similar vein, we now have vaccinations that could prevent most of the cervical cancers that kill women today — but abortion proponents have successfully blocked requirements young women get them, and have worked in many states to throw up barriers to anyone getting the vaccine. Have you looked at the Texas bill to be sure it’s friendly to cancer victims and cancer prevention?

      You know, cancer screenings are the major part of Planned Parenthood health service delivery. How do you reconcile concern with cancer victims with this bill, SB 5, and the concentrated effort to shut down prevention and detection services for cancer victims with little economic means?

      If there is a market (need) for these services clinics will continue to provide them in a safe environment, but if they are just a cover story for their abortion mill, then yes, they will close and we will all be better for it.

      You’ve not been paying attention, have you. There is great need for cancer detection and prevention services, but in state after state, these “anti-abortion” bills have shut down those services. No one has stepped in to fill the gap, and tens of thousands of women now go without care.

      What are you doing about it?

      I get the impression that Texas legislators understand that some women will most likely die for lack of gynecological care, but they think gynecological care is dirty, and the deaths are okay with them. Here’s a more in-depth report on the services leaving Texas, and leaving Texas women in the lurch: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/transcripts-full-episode/december-7-2012-full-episode-transcript/15639/

      1. Ed,
        Bill is right. They don’t need the surgical center requirements if they don’t do abortions. That means they can continue doing cancer screening without the surgical center standards. If they choose to close for lack of being able to do abortions, that means that abortion was the money-maker.

        Also, they do not need an emergency room. They need the equivalent of an out-patient surgical center. Different requirements. Different staffing.

        You seem to think that Jesus would promote abortion services since you imply they are essential to women’s health. Can you point me to the place in the Bible where Jesus supports abortion? Or where he supports the killing of children?

        1. Jesus held to the Jewish scriptures, did He not? Then Exodus 21.22-23 would tend to govern; if we add in children up to one month, we find no significant, compensible value attached to such a child, as if it were not a life; see Leviticus 27.6 and Numbers 3.15-16.

          Where did Jesus condemn abortion? Nowhere.

          Where did Jesus threaten to withhold health care from women? Nowhere.

          Indeed, a good question to ask is, what would Jesus do?

          You think Jesus is on your side keeping health care from women? Scripture, please.

          1. Leviticus 27.6 and Numbers 3.15-16 talk about census. Given higher mortality rate in infants it makes perfect sense not to count infants younger than a month old, but where does it say anything about the value of human life in general. Psalm 139:14-16 refers to how God looks at the human fetus. Jesus is God, isn’t He? For the ancients the child’s development in the mother’s womb was a secret (v. 15), not anymore. I hope you do not believe a child gains the value as a human being after one month of his/her birth? Your logic is awkward otherwise.
            “Where did Jesus condemn abortion? Nowhere.”
            In Matthew 5:21 Jesus affirmed the commandment no to kill. Should there be more to say?
            “Where did Jesus threaten to withhold health care from women? Nowhere.”
            Maybe you enlighten us in what healthcare women had during the Earthly life of Jesus that He could threading to withhold. Also, how has the killing of a child became a healthcare issue? It deals with judicial not medical field.
            Now, my questions to you:
            Where did Jesus authorize anyone to kill children for ANY possible reasons?
            Scripture please.
            Unless you can answer it, please consult Proverbs 17:28.

            Indeed, a good question to ask is, what would Jesus do?
            The better question to ask is what WILL Jesus do to those, who pervert His Scriptures.
            Here is the good answer:
            Revelation 22:18,19

        2. “Out-patient surgical center” as described in SB 5 is a greater burden than is necessary — it has nothing to do with health of women, but everything to do with putting a greater burden on the clinics than is necessary, in order to shut them down so women in that area will not be able to exercise their Constitutional rights.

          Here’s a good description, perhaps more accurate than my “emergency room” shorthand (though I disagree with your claim it’s not so stringent), but certainly more accurate than your claim it’s to protect the health of women (clearly it’s not):

          The problem for them is that the bill they’re seeking to enact is a vicious and heinous bit of legislative skullduggery. Gov. Rick Perry has called for another special session on July 1 with the expectation of getting this passed. Indeed, I think he’s going to keep calling special sessions until the bill gets enacted, regardless of the consequences.

          It would require doctors to maintain hospital privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility and demand that the facility have certain other requirements. Moreover, it would require that beginning September 1, 2014, the minimum standards for an abortion facility must be equivalent to the minimum standards adopted under Section 243.010 for ambulatory surgical centers.

          That latter provision would eliminate clinic access across most of the state – and add the efforts in neighboring states, and someone in parts of the state might have to travel hundreds of miles to find a clinic.

          Consider that when you think back to if you’ve ever tried to find a local doctor in your neighborhood when you’re sick (and haven’t had a doctor before) Better yet, think back on trying to find a specialist that is near your home and with a schedule that you can deal with. Know how hard that is? Now imagine how tough these folks are making it on women seeking access to abortions.

          The main claims by proponents are that these abortion restrictions are necessary for the health and safety of the women seeking abortions in the state. The problem is that abortion procedures are exceedingly safe. In fact, the morbidity and mortality statistics on women seeking abortion procedures is something that any medical profession would wish to have and is something that proponents of SB 5 simply ignore.

          Via the CDC statistics for the nation:

          In 2007, most (62.3%) abortions were performed at ≤8 weeks’ gestation, and 91.5% were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation. Few abortions (7.2%) were performed at 14—20 weeks’ gestation, and 1.3% were performed at ≥21 weeks’ gestation. During 1998—2007, the percentage of abortions performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation remained stable; however, abortions performed at ≥16 weeks’ gestation decreased by 13%—14%, and among the abortions performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation, the percentage performed at ≤6 weeks’ gestation increased 65%.

          That’s out of a total of 827,609 abortions reported to CDC for 2007.

          And what were the outcomes for the women? The morbidity and mortality rate was a grand total of six women who died as a result of having an abortion procedure.

          Six. That translates in to a rate of one fatality in more than 137,000 procedures.

          For comparison, the fatality rate in natural childbirth or c-sections is 12.7 per 100,000 in 2010 or nearly 13 times worse.

          Plastic surgery? We’re not even in the same ballpark. 1 in 137,000 is vastly more safe than the morbidity and mortality rates in a wide range of cosmetic surgical procedures, many of which are now done in settings outside of hospitals. And the other studies’ figures bear that out too. Indeed, plastic surgery death rates are about 20 times greater – 19.1 per 100,000.

          If Gov. Perry and the Texas GOP were really interested in womens’ safety, they’d be looking to shut down plastic surgeons and tightening restrictions on hospitals and other medical centers to get the rates down.

          But it’s not about womens’ health or safety.

        3. SB 5 is not intended to shutter only abortion clinics; it is targeted at any clinic that delivers low-cost gynecological services to low-income women. The unnecessary and punitive requirement that it meet emergency room/surgical center standards closes down the abortion providers, sure; what’s your justification for shutting down the cancer screenings, too?

      2. Ed,
        I’m going to take these one at a time, but I encourage you to cite the actual legislation rather than someone’s editorialized thoughts on it. i have read the bill. It is available at http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/831/billtext/pdf/SB00005I.pdf#navpanes=0. It is clear from your comments that you have not. All regulations related to “ambulatory surgical center” requirements (that is the language actually used in the bill) are stated specifically for an “abortion facility” (see p. 12 of the bill). Therefore, if a women’s health clinic does not perform abortions, they do not have to meet those standards. Also, physicians who perform abortions must have admitting privileges, etc (see p. 2-3 of bill). You have repeatedly given false information that is not included in the bill. Please read the bill and then provide information directly from the bill in the future. The facts are in the bill. Use the link I provided to read the text of the bill. Otherwise, please refrain from placing false information on this post.

        1. At a minimum, I’m not claiming rape kits contain abortifactants, as one of the bill’s sponsors did.

          Yes, the bill calls for “ambulatory surgical center” requirements.

          Now, please distinguish what is not required there that IS required in an emergency room. Have YOU read the requirements for an ambulatory surgery center?

          Did you bother to read the safety statistics? Is there any reason, other than denying health care to women, to require these centers to have facilities they do not need? There is no medical reason, nor is there a pretense that there IS a medical reason.

          It’s politics.

          We all know the goal is, as LGF put it, to kill Roe v. Wade, to try to set up a conflict in federal circuits that would give the conservatives on the Supreme Court an argument for hearing a case to overturn Roe.

          And, as I noted earlier, this bill will NOT reduce abortions, but probably will increase late term abortions, and perhaps increase abortions overall. It will not save lives, but will cost lives. It will not prevent cancers, but it will put women in a position of being unable to get their cancers detected — tens of thousands of them.

          In the future, don’t tell us you’re concerned about reducing abortions if your bill increases them. In the future don’t tell us you’re concerned about women’s health while supporting bills that will lead to premature cancer deaths of women instead.

          The facts are in the bill, in the discussion of the bill, in other regulations, and in the sources I’ve provided that look at the real effects of what the bill does.

          If we wanted to reduce abortions, we’d be sure that abortions that ARE provided are safe and legal, and that good gynecological care is extended to more women, and that information on contraception and sex is available to women, and that contraception is available. We know that from study after study (even in Ireland, abortion numbers went DOWN with modest legalization).

          Instead, this bill closes clinics, cuts off funding for women’s health services, and generally follows a misogynistic arc that is not supported by scripture.

          So if you’re accusing people of “giving false information,” remember that confession is the beginning of the repentance necessary to get square with God — your turn to confess, and I’ll follow.

          1. I know the statistics because I teach on this. I also know Scripture condemns abortion. i know that Scripture calls for the protection of innocent human life.

            You keep equating abortion with women’s health. What about the female children being aborted at higher rates than male children. What about those “women’s” health?

            I don’t believe you are offering anything different at this point, and you are bordering on ad hominem argument. Therefore, if you want this discussion to continue, you need to offer something of substance with documentation.

          2. Scripture actually places a higher value on women than the culture of the day did.

            However, you keep equating protection for women with medical services. Scripture doesn’t call for any minimum standard of medical services for anyone–men, women, or children.

          3. There are no Scriptures that call for the protection of anyone’s health as it relates to healthcare. There are Scriptures that point specifically to the protection of widows (who are women). Ps 68:5; 1 Tim 5:3-5; James 1:27; Deut 27:19; Mark 12:40; Acts 6:1-15; Ps 146:9. These are a few examples.

      3. Ed, I thought you might bring up Exodus 21. Not sure if you studied/know Hebrew, but the Hebrew term you read as miscarriage, come out, or depart in v. 22 is actually the term yātzā’. This Hebrew word means to give birth. The term for miscarriage is actually shākōl. Thus, when the woman is struck by the man and her child is born but there is no harm, he will be fined. But if the child is born and there is harm (to the mother or the child), the rule of lex talionis comes into play (eye for eye) all the way to the point of life for life. Thus, if the child is killed in the womb, the man’s life is taken. This places high value on the life of the child. Your statement that children all the way to one month have no value is baseless. The Psalms are also replete with statements of value for children in the womb (Ps 51 and 139 for example).

        Your examples from Leviticus and Numbers are completely out of context. The Leviticus passage relates to the redemption price of a vow. The Numbers passage relates to a census. Please use the Bible in context and do not prooftext.

        Since Jesus adhered to the Jewish Scriptures, he would then place a high value on life in the womb as evidenced by Ex 21, Ps 51, and Ps 139. He did not have to explicitly prohibit abortion in his teaching because it was not an issue for the Jews. this is also made clear in the writings of the early church fathers who also condemned the Roman practice of abortion. Check your history.

        1. You know Hebrew much better than I (which is not at all). So I’ll have to trust that you won’t place false information here.

          The scriptures in which Jesus addresses abortion are which ones?

          1. He had no need to. The practice was condemned by the Jews already. He was speaking to Jewish audiences almost exclusively. Just because he didn’t explicitly condemn abortion in a cultural context that already condemned it does not mean he supported abortion. He didn’t condemn bestiality either. Does that mean he was a proponent of it? Certainly not!

          2. So, then, from Jesus’s silence, we can assume he approved of all Jewish custom?

            I think you’re on thin ice on that argument.

            We cannot assume Jesus condemned activities Jesus didn’t condemn. Jesus’s not condemning an activity doesn’t imply acceptance or condoning — but neither should it imply the contrary. Where there is no evidence, there is no evidence.

          3. There is a difference between Jewish custom and law. Exodus 21 is part of the law. Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. See Matt 5:17. You said, “Jesus held to the Jewish scriptures, did He not?” If you believe that, then Jesus would hold to the law that killing an unborn child in the womb was against Jewish law and punishable according to the law.

            By your logic, bestiality is at the very least not condemned by Jesus so if someone could make a good argument for it being good, you would have to accept it biblically. That is standing on thin ice.

          4. Ed, I don’t appreciate the implicit attack on my integrity. You have come to my “house” (this blog) and now attack me. This type of behavior is not acceptable. I gave you the Hebrew words. You can look them up in a Hebrew lexicon. I have also pointed you to documentation to support my position. You are free to disagree with me, but please do not falsely impugn my character or that of anyone else on this comment thread.

          5. I’ll be happy to refrain from impugning your character, but I ask that you offer me the same courtesy. In your house.

            You defend a bill that has ulterior, Constitutional-right crushing intent. You make claims for it that are not supported. You dismiss my evidence as inconsequential. I’ll trust you where my ignorance offers little way for me to check you, but I ask that you not impugn my claims where I offer the facts, even when you don’t like them.

          6. To my knowledge, I have not accused you of lying. I have pointed to editorialized or false information that you posted when I documented the actual facts from the bill. In each case where I have challenged your evidence, I have offered counter-evidence. Point me to the facts of the bill (noting page, section, or line number) that crush Constitutional rights with documentation from the Constitution, and I will be happy to acknowledge them. At this point, I have not seen such evidence from you.

      4. Ed, you keep making the argument that the bill removes healthcare from women. It only places restrictions on the types of places where abortions can be performed, the timing of abortions, and the qualifications of doctors performing them. It places no other restrictions on services provided by women’s health centers. Please make accurate statements about the law rather than attempting to hijack the post with unfounded statements.

        1. You’ve got the statistics. How many family planning clinics remain for low-income and uninsured women in Texas’s 254 counties if this bill becomes law? How many family planning clinics remain, period?

          1. Family planning often is women’s health. The clinics being shut down are, for thousands of Texas women, the only ob-gyn services they can ever get.

            You assume family planning means “abortion;” Planned Parenthood is designed to promote parenthood without surprises. That’s not always abortion.

            But the GOP is willing to blur any distinction, and willing to sacrifice a few thousand Texas women in their rush to make brutal, stupid and ultimately destructive political points.

            No one like abortions; but lack of safe and legal abortions leads to women dying, and babies, too, if you care.

            Family planning generally involves providing health care services to women, as these clinics do.

            So, the issue is, why are you willing to kill all women’s health services in this case? Did you seriously misunderstand and think it’s just abortion on the table?

          2. Ed, you are the one who changed categories. Not every women’s health clinic is a family planning clinic.

            You are making accusations against me without proof. I never said that I was willing to kill all women’s health services. When claiming what I have said, please quote my words.

            The bill deals with abortion. Show me the proof from the bill where it places any regulations on women’s health services that are not abortion. All I am asking for is proof. To this point, you have not shown me anything in the bill. You are not helping your case by making statements about the bill without factual evidence from the bill. I gave you the link to the bill earlier. Read it. Show me the proof from the bill.

            As I stated earlier (and now that you have passed 25 comments on this post), why not write your own post to disprove everything I have said. Cite the bill. Cite your facts. I try to interact with every comment, but time does not permit me to spend all day (or night) doing so.

        2. How many family planning clinics remain for low-income and uninsured women in Texas’s 254 counties if this bill becomes law? How many family planning clinics remain, period?

          1. Before you were talking about women’s health clinics. Now you mention family planning clinics. Which one is it? But my reply remains the same–as many as want to as long as they meet the medical standards for performing abortions or choose not to perform abortions.

          2. Why must these clinics, with better safety records, be required to meet standards that other surgical clinics which have much worse death rates are not required to meet?

            Our wives are in more danger from plastic surgery clinics than these family planning clinics, if we’re going by complications and death rates. Today, more women die from those procedures.

            Why aren’t we being consistent in applying the unnecessary standards?

          3. How many family planning clinics will remain open for low-income and uninsured women in Texas’s 254 counties, if this law is enacted?

            It’s an ugly fact, I know. But your not answering the difficult question doesn’t make it any prettier.

          4. There are 47 abortion clinics in TX. 5 meet the standards now. The other 42 would be given the opportunity to meet the standards or to stop performing abortions. If other family planning clinics exist that do not perform abortions, they are unaffected. What else do you want to know?

  12. I am against abortion because simply I believe it is killing a human being. Think about it like this, if you are a mother of 2 years old boy and pregnant at the same time. You want to get an abortion because you think you cannot afford to support two children. Rather than taking the risk of the abortion procedure on your health, why can’t you take the life from the 2 years old boy? You will still end up with one child at the end with no risk on your health. It sounds harsh right? So what makes it OK to kill the unborn baby? If you want to prevent bad parents from having children, don’t let the pregnancy happens first place. This is is done by educating and providing services and birth control options for these parents. The are saying that just because a child is born poor or to bad parents, they don’t deserve a chance at life, like everyone else. Bit of an elitist aren’t we? What’s next, selective breeding/cloning to weed our the undesirables? Many, many people who were born into poverty or abusive parents have gone on to make significant contributions to society. All that potential is being lost. We cannot prevent all of the bad things that happen to kids, it impossible. But at least we can give them a chance.

  13. Thanks for you thoughtful letter, Evan. I am ashamed to have Mrs. Davis represent Fort Worth. As a Christian and as a former Pregnancy Help Center worker…abortion is an act of violence that should never be a choice for anyone. I was aghast at the cheers, smiles and happiness on the Senate floor by Davis’ supporters All that ecstatic joy over killing more babies! If they could see themselves.

  14. I’ve never understood why a baby in a womb is not a baby, yet when someone murders a pregnant woman and her baby also dies, he/she is charged with a double murder. How can it be murder unless it is a person?

    1. In most jurisdictions it’s not a double murder — nor was it ever a double murder before about 1999. Evan can tell you, since he’s a scripture expert, that in Jesus’s time a child was not considered a baby until 30 days after birth, since so many died in the first ten months between conception and 30 days out. No funerals, not-yet-human.

      In Roe v. Wade, the Court argued for the first time that a baby unborn was human, in the last trimester — on the basis that babies before that time are not generally viable.

      Please don’t forget the history, especially the recent history.

      1. 36 states and federal law recognize unborn children as persons and therefore victims for the sake of prosecuting for murder. I would actually call that most jurisdictions. Check your facts.

        As for the scriptural text, I’ve already answered that. It was a census. In other Old Testament censuses, they only counted people 20 years old and older. Does that mean anyone under 20 was not a person?

        1. New laws, not traditional Christianity, not Biblical. I understand laws change, and that we have been ratcheting up our moral standards for the past 200 years.

          Please don’t claim laws after 1973 claiming that death of a fetus is murder is Biblical. Let’s recognize it as modern law.

          So, I presume you’re also in favor of monthly vagina checks to be sure no fetus is ever lost? Fully half of all conceptions result in spontaneous abortion — God-caused, if you prefer. If we assume those children should have been saved, how are we to do it?

          And are you willing to provide the millions to provide that care? If you’re closing down the very clinics that could do it, it seems to me there is a great gap between good medicine and the law. That’s not the fault of Texas women, and they shouldn’t be paying the price, with their bodies and lives.

          As you well know, the OT also has a provision for parents to get rid of children roughly under the age of 16.

          There are limits to what we can do medically, and our knowledge and medical skills have left Biblical rules far behind. In writing new ones — as you propose earlier with new laws that make feticide into homicide — let’s not always punish women first, and without consideration of what actually happens and can happen, medically.

          The recent murder of an Indian woman in Ireland, and the civil death sentence of a woman in Central America, for what you call “homicide” but what is in actuality simply having a faulty pregnancy, are abominations — if not to God, then God should get out of the pro-life business.

          Those cases are not so rare as some pretend, nor are governments good at distinguishing those cases better than a woman and her physician.

          Around the world, denying rape victims the right to abort any resulting pregnancy is considered a war crime. The law you support all but requires that rape victims be denied abortions in Texas. Can you tell me why that should not be considered equivalent of a war crime?

          1. Traditional Christianity has always condemned abortion. Read church history starting with the second century church fathers. They all viewed abortion as a moral evil.

            You were the one who said most jurisdictions did not recognize unborn children as persons for homicide cases. I proved otherwise.

            Your next point does not deserve a response. Your insensitivity to women who have had miscarriages is sad. You know we are talking about elective abortions here.

            Please enlighten me about the OT provision to “get rid of children roughly under the age of 16.” I seem to have missed that one.

            Show me from the bill that it denies rape victims an abortion. I will say it one more time. Show me the language from the bill.

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