Report From The Senate Gallery #HB2

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My friend, Nancy Flores, is in the gallery for the Senate debate on HB2 and is updating her personal Facebook page. And it’s wonderful. So, with her permission, I’m going to post her FB posts here.

From Nancy: "There are so many pictures from the past weeks that capture the rage, anger, rawness of the men and women fighting for basic rights. This one, however, reminds me of how unbelievable this has all been AND how sometimes, we just need to take a minute and then keep fucking fighting!"

From Nancy: “There are so many pictures from the past weeks that capture the rage, anger, rawness of the men and women fighting for basic rights. This one, however, reminds me of how unbelievable this has all been AND how sometimes, we just need to take a minute and then keep fucking fighting!”

 

(started around 2pm…all words after this are Nancy’s):


Seriously? Still waiting since 7:30 this morning to enter the gallery. Why? Because they are checking each person’s bag and forcing folks to throw away all food products, including water. AND all tampons and maxi pads!!!!!!!!

So now I took my shirt off in order to put on the extra shirt underneath because you aren’t allowed to bring in extra shirts. WTF?

2:39-start of Senate debate.
Lots more blue shirts than orange inside this gallery.

And many of the first rows of sections in the gallery have to be left empty so that DPS can move around quickly should the need arise.

Eight hours and a few tampons later: In the gallery!

Sen. Duell in referring to certain women: “They are unsophisticated patients.”

Sen. Duell: “At some clinics, there are aborted babies flying around.”

Sen. Duell: “I don’t know any other physicians (in other specialties) who don’t follow the proper standard of care.”

I asked the DPS trooper, as he was flipping through my bag, if I needed to also remove the pads from my bra. He wasn’t amused.

Duell sarcastically tells West that he wishes there was a jury around to hear this discussion. West reminds him that there is a jury present and looks up at us in the gallery.

Sen. Hegar: “I don’t recall hearing any testimony from women who had been raped or victims of incest.” BULLSHIT. I was there and I sure as hell heard it!

Sen. Garcia to Hegar: “I’m still waiting for all that substantial evidence you said you had about fetal pain. I haven’t seen any of it.”

Here she goes! Wendy Davis begins her questioning!

Oh well look at that–Wendy Davis brings up the sonogram bill from last session and no objections that it isn’t germane!

Oh, and another thing…don’t even think about entering the gallery tired. DPS troopers are going up to folks and telling them they need to stay awake. Sounds a little threatening to me.

Switching of the guards–our lovely DPS troopers. Lucky them. They get to go eat and potty (and then return) without losing their spots.

Sen. Davis: “Does it not concern you that women who need to access this constitutional right will lose it because of cost, travel, or cannot afford the time off from work or cannot afford childcare? Hegar: “I believe all the clinics will come up to standards.”

Davis: how does the 2nd or 3rd visit contribute to the success of a medical abortion? Hegar: it builds their relationship. Davis: It’s absurd to say that somehow taking the dosage of the 2nd or 3rd visit is making the doctor more available to the patient if she’s leaving to take those dosages.

Davis (summarized): If we are really concerned about the health and safety of women in Texas, why then in other instances, such as childbirth that has higher instances of complications, aren’t we raising the standards of requiring admitting privileges? We don’t even require that women give birth in a hospital.

Davis continues to request evidence and proof, explanations on how this will improve the health and safety of women and all Hegar can respond with is that he is protecting women by raising the standard of care. For abortion providers, that is.

Just had dinner. Damn that Altoid was good.

Sorry folks. My laptop is charging and since our freedom to charge our electronic devices is now being taken away, I have to charge it when a certain Sargent at arms leaves the gallery. But I did want to let y’all know that they have a police dog sniffing the gallery. For tampons perhaps? Menstruating women?

Some Republican is talking, not sure who and don’t give a shit. Think it’s just Duell.

I’m fixated on how Senator Lucio felt compelled to wear a bright, blue jacket today despite always proclaiming his democrat-ness. While we know he is voting based on his own beliefs, not those of the South Texas constituents he represents, it’s in bad form that he is disgracing his people so blatantly.

Duell: Let’s not torture these babies.

Lege taking a 5 minute break. Can we take one too? I promise I can potty quickly.

I knew I should have stuck some snacks in my back pockets. But I was convinced they were frisking folks for tampons, pads, paper…

Amendment 1 (West): adding transfer agreements for abortion facilities requiring them to be ASCs, to have privileges granted.

Motion to table prevails.

Amendment 2 (Uresti): exemption for pregnancies arising from rape or incest up to 24 weeks. The 24 weeks provision in keeping with the Constitutional requirement. Amendment killed despite this same amendment being approved in the sonogram bill last session. AND despite Whitmire’s plea to the members to slow down in considering the 19 amendments before us, in particular this incredibly crucial amendment to support survivors of rape and incest. AND despite Lucio’s (who is FOR this bill) amendment to this amendment that adds a provision for minors 17 years of age or younger.

Amendment killed. And my heart just officially broke.

Looking at Wendy wiping away tears from her eyes made it even worse.

Don’t even know what Amendment 3 was but it’s killed too.

Amend 4: change “substantial” to “some”

Regarding fetal pain. And Zaffirini thought the vote would be 19 to 12. Some additional presumed supporter also voted against it.

Sorry that my posts have deflated. This is just so hard to watch and hear.

Amend 5: RU486 drug administration either orally or vaginally to provide the least complications to the patient. Killed.

Amend 6: require HHS to reimburse for abortions done in facilities who have not yet had the time to get up “to par” with the new abortion requirements before 2014. Killed.

Amend 7: exempts abortion facilities from having to become ASCs. Killed.

Just finished watching a young girl, in what looked like a Quinceañera dress outside the Capitol window, having her picture taken. She has no idea that her rights as a women are being stripped away as she smiles for that camera.

Amend 8: 50 mile exemption for women in rural counties. Killed.

Amend 9: frequency of inspections of abortion facilities. Davis moves to have ASCs inspected annually versus every 3 years. Pointed out that in reality they are currently being inspected every 6 years, not 3. Emphasizes that everyone has been arguing for increased safety standards. Why not now? Killed.

Amend 10: amend language that abortions cause breast cancer. Killed.

Amend 11: crisis pregnancy centers should be regulated, have requirements, and be licensed. And have to tell women that they aren’t licensed. They currently aren’t licensed or regulated and often give misinformation. Killed.

The politeness and tactfulness of these democratic legislators, despite continuous disrespect shown to them, is unbelievable.

Women for choice in the halls: I hear you–keep yelling!!!! It’s keeping us from falling apart here in the gallery!

Amend 12: allows teen moms to obtain family planning services and contraception without parental consent.
Van de Putte’s voice lowers and cracks as she asks to vote against tabling. Killed.

Amend 13: HHS to launch a marketing campaign on how to reduce STDs, unintended pregnancies, and abortions. Killed.

Amend 14: parents get notified about whether the students are getting abstinence-only info or comprehensive sex education in schools. Gives parents the opportunity to supplement with information as needed. Watson pleas with the members that we are trying to stop abortions from happening. Good gracious–Hegar says it’s not GERMANE to this bill. What the fuck? Killed.

Amend 15: another sex education amendment in order to reduce abortions. Hegar again says not germane. I’m gonna fucking lose my mind. I’m gonna fucking lose my mind. Killed.

Amend 16: pro-life amendment that makes it strictly a pro-life bill. Killed.

Amend 17: $40M allocation for family planning service providers,
56 family planning clinics. Killed.

Amend 18: extend CHIP prenatal/perinatal program from 60 days to 6 months. Killed.

GET LOUDER OUT THERE!!!!!

Last amendment of this brutal night happening RIGHT NOW.

Amend 19: Get federal funding for this bill for Texas women and children. Hegar: not GERMANE. Killed.

Wait–another amendment on the floor!

Woman chained herself to rail with blood on her. Other women dragged out by hands and feet!!!!!

Amend 20 by Wendy Davis: equal pay for equal work!!!

Davis: “You ask how is it germane? If we’re passing a bill that affects births, women/families should earn the income necessary to support their families.” Hegar: not germane. Killed.

GET LOUD!!!! The woman is still chained right here to the railing!!!!

DPS just literally dragged the other two women like hogs right in back of my seat. She hit hard with her body against my chair!!!

We’ve been banned from videotaping and taking pics. More verbal outbursts and women be dragged out of here!!!!!

Oh my goodness!!!!!

Nelson is closing. I smell some riots coming on in here. Everyone is on HIGH alert.

Another protester escorted out.

I keep looking around.

About a kazillion troopers just entered the gallery.

Seriously looking all around this gallery.

I am getting some nasty looks from these troopers for typing so much.

I don’t even know what the fuck Watson is saying. Just looking around and keeping my guard up.

Didn’t even realize until now that I think Senfronia Thompson left the gallery.

STAY LOUD ORANGE!!!!

We can barely hear you. Get loud!!!

DPS has just received ear plugs to use as they exit the gallery. Be even louder!!!

Dan Patrick chastising Watson for not crafting his own bill in a timely manner.

Another outburst in response to Sen. Patrick saying that a mother tells her it baby “this isn’t convenient and how about dying?”

That elderly woman that just got taken out was beside herself. She screamed that she couldn’t take it anymore and that is so offensive to women. Damn right it is.

So.Many.Tears.

Sen. Patrick: “How would GOD vote tonight?” Oh.My.Goodness. I’m gonna explode in here!!!!!!!!

Sen. Patrick: “By my vote, the BABY is gonna get 19 votes tonight. 18 republicans and one courageous democrat.”

Sen. Whitmire: “I cannot sit here and let you question my faith.”

Whitmire: “Sen. Patrick, you crossed the line. Don’t question the faith of any member of this floor.”

Whitmire needs to watch his continued stereotyping of women who see out abortions.

Whitmire: “you are trying to make the women feel guilty about their decisions.”

Whitmire: “If you haven’t been there, you’re not really ready to fully engage in this debate.”

This was the woman who chained herself to the railing:Screen Shot 2013-07-13 at 9.44.17 AM

Although I’m not convinced that Donna Campbell is actually an ER doctor, I’d rather die than have her touch my body.

I am completely dreading the cheering that’s gonna happen when this goes to vote. The blue far outnumber us at this point.

Anyone, is the Capitol on lockdown? Are people able to leave?

I just counted only 56 people in this gallery who are obviously orange.

Lucio: One abortion just leads to one more abortion.

And Lucio is back to quoting Mother Teresa again.

Lucio: “This is not a war on women. This is a war on children.”

And finally, Lucio shuts up.

Next up….Wendy!

Davis: We should approach this with great care and great humility. We are not doing that.

Davis: Those of us in the Senate should not make this decision casually or quickly. But that’s what we are poised to do. Women already here are beautiful and they deserve to make decisions with their partner, their doctor and their God.

Davis: The fight for the future of Texans is just beginning.”

Wendy Davis’s face is priceless right now listening to Hegar talk about how he tears up with Disney movies.

Now Hegar is making jokes about his back hurting and that he needs Advil. Douche bag.

Here comes the vote

Another outburst and chanting in the gallery as the voting is underway

Vote is 19 to 11. HB2 passes to third reading.

I cannot move from this seat.

Gonna hold up 2 fingers as I walk out in a minute. Do it with me, will you?

Taking up 3rd reading on HB2 right now.

Dewhurst: mob rule will not run the day.

And the final vote is taken. 19 to 11.

Just got home. Son was waiting up for me and said, “Did you and Wendy win?” More tears with the boy.


Thank you, Nancy, for standing witness and sharing that with us all. THANK YOU.

Comments are closed.

15 Responses

  1. Mary Jo Addiego says:

    I live in California but feel the pain of Texan women. Thank you for keeping everyone updated!

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  3. Chris Edler says:

    Thanks for the updates. It’s a pity these people have not spent time in CPS hearings, gone to the State Center for the patients with extremely low IQs, or discussed the situation with real people. They seem to think that rape victims are always free to run for an abortion. The reality of severe birth defects detectable only after 20 weeks has obviously not been a factor in their own lives.

  4. Leila Fullwood says:

    Great commentary, i was there today but in the rotunda. The lines were so long to get in i thought my presence was better utilized there chanting rather than standing in a line that was not moving.

    Appreciate all the people that believe in the US Constitution and supporting changes in Laws legally.

  5. Marnie McKenzie says:

    Thank you for being there…I am so appalled at the way people were treated….it’s insane
    And DPS are paid by tax payers…WTF gives them the right todo this?

  6. Lori Christian Hathaway says:

    I, too. Was there with you dressed in orange. However, I was too intimidated to text, much less type.

    Many, Many tears.

  7. Julia Finch says:

    I was in the gallery all day too. I life blogged on Facebook as much as I could. But it was difficult since my phone was almost dead by the time I got in there. So whenever an outlet was available I’d charge it for an hour. Use it for an hour. Charge for an hour etc.

    That whole bullshit with them talking about crying at Disney movies and when Lucio said he loves all these ladies unconditionally was just vomit -inducingly condescending.

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  9. Mary P. Luke says:

    I watched the livestream for about three hours from Massachusetts. I saw the insane Patrick speech and Whitmire’s response. I can’t imagine how you could stand it in there. I couldn’t stand it here. Thank you for being so strong to not only be there but bring your laptop and type for us.

    I was also uncomfortable with Whitmire’s apparent stereotyping. I’ll withhold judgment because it may have been a deliberate, desperate tactic to get through to even one of these republicans.

    I did think it was good when he told Patrick you’ve crossed the line…and don’t question my faith or that of any member of this senate.

    It was just unbearable to watch.

  10. David Blumberg says:

    “Just got home. Son was waiting up for me and said, ‘Did you and Wendy win?’” Oh, hell, now I’m crying. Let me get some tissues.

  11. harriet irby says:

    I was there. They were afraid to confiscate my portable oxygen. But they did get my food and water

  12. Linda Brooks says:

    I was there in the gallery. The young woman sitting next to me appeared traumatized. She said it was the first time she had ever been in the capitol gallery. She quietly left a few minutes before the final vote. We were sitting right behind the four or five young women that jumped out of their seats and attempted to chain themselves to the railing (one succeeded).

    When I made a remark to the young woman sitting next to me about that action “took a lot of guts”, she earnestly stated “I thought they were going to hang themselves”. Sadly, I don’t think even that would have made a difference to those legislators on the floor. They would have just carried on, asked for a prayer for those misguided souls and to “think about all those unborn babies those ladies will never get to have”. Chilling.

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