Political Animals: Abortion Politics
Highlights from Hair Balls
Governor Rick Perry couldn't have made it any clearer during a press conference at a Christian-based health clinic Tuesday: "My goal, and the goal of many of those joining me here today, is to make abortion at any stage a thing of the past."
Perry was pushing the so-called "Pre-Born Pain Bill," a bit of legislation promoted by Texas Right to Life that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. (There are exceptions for life-threatening risks to the mother; in cases of rape or incest, the decision to abort must be made before the 20-week mark.)
The press conference was held at the Source for Women, a center off Richmond that's one of the "crisis pregnancy centers" that are supposed to fill the void in the defunding of actual women's health centers (which everyone knows are really abortion mills), a choice that clashed with Perry's supposed concern about "taking care of women's health."
Battle of the Piney Woods: SFA vs. SHSU
TicketsSat., Oct. 1, 3:00pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 11:00am
Rice University Owls Football vs. UTSA Roadrunners Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 15, 6:00pm
Rice University Owls Football vs. Prairie View A&M University Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 22, 2:30pm
The Source is kind of a funny place; in some ways, it's transparent in its mission to preach the gospel to the emotionally vulnerable women who walk through their doors; but when we asked spokeswoman Tiffany Purdue if its affiliated service providers were strictly faith-based, she looked at us like we were dim, and stressed that religion didn't matter — the woman's health was the only important issue.
Purdue, Source CEO Cynthia Wenz and whoever writes copy for the Web site should probably get on the same page: According to the Source's mission statement, the clinic is all about "empowering women to choose LIFE" and exists "to serve every abortion vulnerable woman, providing medical care, counseling, and education unique to her life circumstance" — a statement we could spend the rest of our lives trying to diagram and mine for meaning. But since we don't have that kind of time, we'll just try to do it in a few paragraphs.
First of all, we're not sure what an "abortion vulnerable" woman is. Presumably, it's an innocent, doe-eyed pregnant woman who, while going about her day at work or home, doesn't realize that, at any moment, she could be assaulted by a gang of forceps-bearing thugs.
And then what to make of offering service that is "unique to her life circumstance"? Well, that's just patently inaccurate. As an affiliate of a group called Carenet, the Source is required to adhere to that organization's role as a "Christ-centered ministry" whose "vision is a culture where lives are transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and every woman chooses life for herself and her unborn child."
On her Support the Source blog, Wenz writes about such proselytizing, noting, "Over the past year, there has been a substantial influx of Muslim women at The Source, and we've been praying on how to 'reach' this group that understands the concept of a god, but doesn't understand the resurrected Jesus living inside of us and the power of the Holy Spirit."
Hah! Silly, backward Muslims — just smart enough to grasp the concept of a higher power but too primitive to worship the correct one!
Wenz continues: "About six months ago, two of these followers of Islam walked through our doors. Blanca began counseling and serving them through the free pregnancy tests and 4D ultrasound. As the relationships developed, Blanca unashamedly shared the Truth, explaining that The Source is a Christian organization, and that all are welcome."
Yes. Nothing says "welcome" like going in for a wellness exam and having someone tell you that your faith is a crock.
What really got us the most, though, was the flippant lip service Perry and a few other speakers gave to protecting the weakest among us.
At one point, Perry said, "Using the adoption process and community support, we can ensure each and every child born has a loving home."
This statement makes Hair Balls think there's a slight chance that the governor is unaware of the fact that there are thousands of children in the custody of the Department of Family and Protective Services locked away in abusive foster homes and rat-trap "residential treatment centers," where, when they're not being abused, they're being neglected. (According to some studies, roughly 76.8 percent of children in permanent managing conservatorship are not presently riding unicorns through showers of gumdrops and sunshine.)
But of course we lack common sense, a commodity Perry has in spades: "From my perspective, this is about common sense...Again, the ideal world is a world without abortions. Until then, we're going to continue to pass laws to ensure abortions are as rare as possible under existing law."
Funny. We thought an ideal world was where people in power actually gave a shit about the weakest among us, from cradle to grave, and didn't just cynically use them as cheap political props.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.