One week after her fiery testimony led to her forcible removal from the state Senate chamber in Austin last Monday, activist Sarah Slamen maintains that Texas lawmakers have “miserably” failed their constituency with regard to recently passed abortion restrictions. Now she says the fate of women’s health in the Lone Star State rests on another arm of government.
“Since the legislative branch has failed us so miserably, we’re now relying on a kind of shaky judicial branch,” said Slamen on msnbc Monday. “We now have to look toward injunctions being filed that will ultimately head toward the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.”
Unlike the Ninth Circuit, said Slamen, which has struck down similar bans on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy in states like Idaho and Arizona, the Fifth Circuit has a record of siding with anti-choice measures—such as mandatory ultrasounds, 24-hour waiting periods, and required doctors’ speeches that opponents argue are designed to deter women from going through with an abortion.
“We have to keep up momentum, we have to keep up political pressure, we have to keep up the solidarity between all the women and allies in Texas,” said Slamen.
The GOP-controlled Texas Senate passed House Bill 2 on Friday night, clearing the way for Republican Gov. Rick Perry to sign into law some of the most restrictive abortion measures in the country. In addition to banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the bill requires all abortions to take place in surgical centers—a requirement critics say will close down dozens of clinics throughout the state. The Texas House passed the bill earlier in the week after nearly 1,000 people were cut off from speaking at the committee’s public hearing.
During her testimony last Monday, Slamen called the Texas Legislature “a bunch of liars who hate women,” before being dragged out of the Senate chamber.
That day was also an eventful one for Janet Colm, president, CEO, and founder of Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, who was arrested along with more than 60 others at last week’s Moral Monday protest in Raleigh, North Carolina. The weekly demonstration reached a new pinnacle as focus turned to a set of anti-abortion rules that that state Legislature is now considering, despite a campaign promise from Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to not sign any further restrictions into law.
Colm said on msnbc Monday that she was hopeful McCrory would be “deliberative” about considering any abortion bill before signing it.
“This bill is really just a laundry list of all the anti-choice legislation they could hope to pass in North Carolina,” said Colm of the bill passed by the state House on Thursday that both increases safety for motorcyclists, and restricts access to abortion—two completely unrelated goals. “It’s beyond the facility regulations, and really goes to a much wider net than that,” she said.