The Texas state Senate passed an anti-abortion law that threatens to close all but five clinics in the state and has garnered national attention in a vote of 19 to 11 on Friday.
Conservative lawmakers rejected 20 separate proposed amendments that were designed to either kill the bill or weaken the restrictions that require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, clinics to meet strict safety standards even if they only perform medication induced abortions, and ban abortion after 20 weeks gestation with no exception for rape or incest.
Anticipating the same tactics as seen in the previous Senate vote, security confiscated numerous objects that could be thrown during the debate - including unused feminine hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary pads. Firearms, however, were allowed without much scrutiny, simply requiring officers to view the legal permit. The seizure of tampons continued until Senator Kirk Watson (D-Austin) convinced the Department of Public Safety to stop the collection.
The bill now goes before Governor Perry, who will sign the legislation into law. Abortion rights advocates plan to challenge the law in court. Julie Rikelman, litigation director for the Center for Reproductive Rights told NPR, "This law can absolutely be stopped. It is a cocktail of restrictions that have been blocked by other courts around the country. It's clearly unconstitutional and I do believe that courts will find it to be unconstitutional if it's challenged."
The law gained national spotlight after Texas state Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) held a marathon filibuster to defeat the bill in the previous special session. During the filibuster, which lasted over 10 hours, Davis was not permitted to go off-topic, sit down, break for eating, use the restroom, or even lean on her desk. Davis successfully continued her filibuster until 10:00 pm local time when supporters of the bill challenged her saying that she had violated procedural rules. When Davis' filibuster was challenged, chants of "Let Her Speak" and "Shame" caused chaos in the hearing room. The chants continued when the final vote on the bill was taken at 11:45pm, making it difficult to count votes. It was later determined that though the bill had passed, the official vote occurred after midnight, thus voided the decision. Governor Rick Perry (R) called a second special session in order to pass the bill.
Media Resources: NPR 7/13/2013; Huffington Post 7/12/2012; Washington Post 7/12/2013; Feminist Newswire 6/26/2013
10/13/2015 EEOC Launches Hollywood Gender Discrimination Probe - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has contacted several women directors in Hollywood in an effort to determine whether legal intervention is necessary to disrupt the industry's discriminatory hiring practices.
In a letter sent to some 50 women filmmakers, the EEOC - which is responsible for protecting individuals from employment discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion and national origin through enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - requested interviews with them to "learn more about the gender-related issues" women behind the camera face in both the film and television industries.
In May, following the release of a study by the San Diego State University Center for the Study of Women in Television in Film revealing only 7 percent of 2014's 250 top-grossing movies were helmed by women, the ACLU of Southern California and the national ACLU Women's Rights Project urged state and federal rights agencies to investigate Hollywood's failure to hire equal numbers of women. . . .
10/12/2015 Report Finds Texas' HB2 Increases Abortion Wait Times - A new report released by the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Policy Evaluation Project found patients seeking abortions in Texas have experienced an increase in wait times since the passage of HB2, the 2013 Texas omnibus anti-abortion bill that attempts to cut off abortion access by requiring abortion providers in the state to fulfill medically unnecessary ambulatory surgical center requirements and secure hospital admitting privileges.
More than half of 42 clinics providing abortion in Texas have been forced to shut their doors since HB2 passed two years ago, leading Texas women to wait up to 20 days for a first consult at one of the surviving 18 reproductive health clinics operating in the state, the second most populous in the nation. . . .
10/9/2015 Federal Judge Orders Anti-Abortion Group to Cede Footage to NAF - On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and its leader David Daleidan must turn over all previously unreleased "sting" videos and outtakes of National Abortion Federation (NAF) meetings the group obtained surreptitiously as part of a smear campaign against the abortion provider.
U.S. . . .