The 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade is not so much a time of celebration, Rep. Donna Howard told a small crowd on the south steps of the Capitol this morning, as it was a look at the progress towards healthy women and healthy communities.
Some of that, liberal lawmakers predict, is likely to erode this session as conservatives attempt to roll back access to reproductive right for women in the areas of both contraceptives and the right to an abortion. The ongoing fight to keep Planned Parenthood out of the state's new Women's Health Program, of course, rises to the top of the list.
Stopping reproductive rights creates intended consequences, Howard said.
"It's actually increasing the probability, the actuality of intended pregnancies, which is actually going to increase, not decrease, abortions," Howard told a small group of mostly women who joined hands in solidarity at the Capitol. "They have a backwards way of looking at this. They think if we just say no, it won't happen. But obviously people will continue to have sex and continue to face these decisions."
Abortions should be safe and rare and should be the decision of the woman, Howard told the audience, drawing cheers from the crowd.
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Howard sounded mild, however, next to Presbyterian minister Jim Rigby, who noted the ecumenical denominations so quick to swipe women's rights were the same ones that don't want to see women in the pulpit. Such decisions to take away women's rights turn women into nothing more than breeding stock, Rigby said.
Gov. Rick Perry, who supports a fetal pain bill this session, has said he wants to make abortion a thing of the past.
"Roe v. Wade paved the way for the loss of more than 54 million innocent lives, with more than a million added to that total with each passing year. This catastrophic loss of life is a grim testament to judicial activism, and a tragic stain on our national conscience," Perry said in a statement on the Roe v Wade anniversary. "In Texas, we've worked hard to strengthen our abortion laws to the greatest extent possible under Roe v. Wade. We will continue working to empower families and protect our children's future, until the day abortion is nothing more than a tragic footnote in our nation's history."