It's been a couple of weeks since Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) took on his chief Democratic rival, state Sen. Wendy Davis, commenting on her teenaged pregnancy during a speech at the National Right To Life conference. The governor's comments generated criticism from his own allies, and yesterday on Fox, Perry still struggled to explain what he was thinking.
For those who can't watch clips online, here's how the governor explained himself:
"Actually, those comments were meant to be a compliment to her for what she had accomplished in her life, and you think about where she came from, what she's accomplished. And as a matter of fact, I would think that she's very proud of that as well."My point was that saving a life and letting that life come to its fulfillment and all the good things that happened, you never know when who's going to be considered to be an extraordinary individual who's going to make that real impact and life. And that was our point that we were making, and nothing else, nothing more."
You can watch Perry's original comments and see for yourself whether this makes any sense -- it sounded to me like Perry has looked at Davis' life, and has taken it upon himself to decide what lessons she should have drawn from it. What's more, listening to the governor yesterday, it sounded like he might also have been making an argument against birth control, because after all, if people use methods to prevent conception, "you never know" what kind of life they're preventing.
In the meantime, though the subject did not come up during Perry's "Fox News Sunday" appearance, perhaps now would be a good time to consider why the governor and his party are preoccupied with reproductive rights, but have done nothing to address exploding fertilizer plants.
Tim Murphy reported on Friday:
In the two and a half months since an explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer storage facility left 12 first responders dead and at least 200 people injured, two things have become clear. The disaster could have been avoided if the proper regulations had been in place and enforced -- and state and federal agencies don't appear to be in a hurry to put those regulations in place or enforce them.Texas, whose lax regulatory climate has come in for scrutiny in the aftermath of the West explosion, went into a special session of its state legislature on Monday to push through an omnibus abortion bill designed to regulate 37 abortion clinics out of existence. But the 2013 session will come to a close without any significant action to impose safeguards on the 74 facilities in the state that contain at least 10,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate.Lawmakers in Austin have a handy excuse for punting on new fertilizer regulations: That would be intrusive.
That may sound amusing given the circumstances, but Murphy isn't kidding. State Sen. Donna Campbell (R-Texas), who helped shut down Wendy Davis' filibuster, said Texas should reject new monitoring of chemical plants, even when public safety is at stake, because there's "a point at which you can overregulate."
Got that? When the issue is exploding fertilizer plants, which recently leveled part of a town and killed 15 people, state Republican policymakers are concerned with "overregulation." When the issue is uteruses, state Republican policymakers believe there is no point at which you can overregulate.
Note, the Mother Jones piece makes clear that it'd be fairly easy for the state to improve its safeguards and prevent catastrophes like the one in West, Texas, but Republicans, at least for now, refuse. Murphy concluded, "Maybe if pro-choice activists really want to stop Texas from regulating clinics they should just start calling them 'fertilizer plants.'"