State lawmakers will, at the behest of Gov. Rick Perry (R), return to work today for another special legislative session. There's no great mystery as to what GOP policymakers hope to accomplish: Perry has proposed sweeping and legally dubious new restrictions on abortion rights, which the governor sees as necessary because "Texans value life," the state's record of executing several hundred of its own citizens notwithstanding.
Yesterday, Perry's highest-profile protagonist, state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) of Fort Worth, appeared on several Sunday shows and appeared ready for the looming fight.
Indeed, on "Meet the Press," Davis noted that the proposed restrictions include a 20-week abortion ban, but go even further.
"This is an omnibus bill ... that includes four different provisions, one of which would leave Texas with only five clinics in a state as large as we are; one of which would dramatically decrease the number of doctors who are able to function in this arena. And with that, the turning back of the clock, and putting Texas in a place where women's health care, their ability to seek good health care for their reproductive decision-making, would be seriously foreclosed. And the experts in this arena, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is warning us, 'If you do this in Texas, you are putting women's health care in a very dangerous place.'"
On ABC, Davis added, in reference to the governor, "He's awfully fond of talking the talk of small government, but this is big-government intrusion. There is no question about it."
Asked about the odds, which appear to favor the far-right in Texas' legislature, Davis said, "I just refuse to say I believe it will happen. I'm an eternal optimist. I believe in the power of democracy and I'm going to fight with every fiber I have to keep it from passing."
And on CBS, Davis argued that Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) may well be using this proposal to advance their own ambitions. "Gov. Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst are willing to ... put women in harm's way in order to step up on the political ladder."
As for the last time a state senator received this much national attention and fueled so much progressive excitement, I believe his name was Barack Obama.