Yesterday, the Texas State Senate was poised to give final approval to a sweeping anti-abortion bill that would have blocked most of Texas from access to safe and legal abortion care. But the people of Texas stood strong and said no. Medical groups opposed the bill, a majority of Texans opposed the bill, and thousands contacted their legislators in opposition. Even though they knew this bill was unwanted, some politicians continued to push for a vote. There was a midnight deadline that those same politicians quietly tried to sneak under. But thousands of Texans yelled from the Senate gallery that they didn't want this bill.
In the end, politicians listened. The bill did not pass last night. But as we celebrate our voices finally being heard, we cannot forget these three important facts:
- Yesterday's victory came after years of Texans telling their elected officials that the men and women of Texas do not want to block access to reproductive health care. They do not want more restrictions on safe and legal abortion, and they do not want politicians interfering in private medical decisions. Some Texas politicians have trouble getting the message, but Texans, like the rest of the country, believe decisions about abortion should be between a woman, her family and her doctor. Politics has no place here.
- The bill did not receive final approval last night but that does not mean the fight is over. Politicians, in Texas and around country, remain laser focused on banning abortion and attacking reproductive health care. We have seen legislative threats like Texas SB 5 in many other states and we are likely to see the bill come back in Texas.
- But last night was a particularly dramatic illustration of participatory democracy: when we make our voices loud enough (literally), we will be heard. Engaging the political process can change the outcome.
Congratulations to the men and women of Texas, and all across the country. Let's keep our voices strong.