In The “A” Word — Don’t Get Angry, Calm Down, and Let Us Talk [April 2013] I summarized my position on abortion, emphasizing the comparison of the pro-life position with the pro-choice position. I tried to develop the rational view that choosing between these two positions is a “no-brainer.” There basically are no moral, religious, cultural, or political grounds upon which to be pro-life, because the pro-choice position is no threat to the pro-life position; if a person chooses not to have an abortion, the pro-choice position does nothing to interfere with that decision. In other words, the pro-choice position respects individual rights and freedoms.
That the pro-life position blatantly does NOT respect individual rights and freedoms, showing how much choosing pro-choice over pro-life is a “no-brainer,” has recently been embarrassingly exposed in several of our States lately, nowhere better covered by the media than in the State of Texas. With Gov. Rick Perry (R) as the leader and mouthpiece, the pro-life movement in Texas has taken advantage of the gerrymandering performed on Texas by the Republican Party, and has tried to “broom closet” strict anti-abortion laws (absolutely NO abortions after 20 weeks) through special sessions of the State Legislature in the wake of recent right-wing Supreme Court decisions from Washington D.C.
Mimicking attempts in other States like North Carolina, Texas pro-life Republicans are trying to push through in special sessions of the State Legislature laws designed to close down most of the sites in Texas where abortions can be safely performed — completely ignoring that so many, many Texas women depend upon each and every one of those sites for health services OTHER than abortion! The “rationale” for closing down these sites, clinics where a full range of women’s heath services is available, is the imposition of irrational and unwarranted credentials upon personnel rendering health services to women (scare tactics), credentials shown by the history of these clinics to be entirely unnecessary; women attending these clinics have been healthy and safe for decades. As State Senator Wendy R. Davis (D) of Ft. Worth, the leader of the opposition of this “pro-life political railroading” has stated, Gov. Rick Perry represents a radical right movement that is putting women’s health all across the State “at risk.”
Without their consultation and without their consent, women in Texas are in danger of becoming second-class citizens, without the same rights to health care that men have. They are in danger of losing part of their basic rights, and, thereby, have become less free. They are in a sense becoming enslaved by a position taken by most pro-lifers (a minority in Texas) that foist their restrictive ideas on abortion rights upon the rest of the populace (a large majority in Texas). A lot of this majority has been represented by college-age women in the Texas Senate gallery in support of Senator Davis; in addition to the support’s orange shirts, I saw gallery shirts from the University of Texas at Austin and from Texas A&M University at College Station, the State’s two largest universities.
Imagine a small religious sect imposing their interpretation of the Bible on the rest of the church-goers in Texas without consent and consultation, restricting thereby the action of all believers not of their minority sect. (Wait, isn’t that what the State Board of Education in Texas in doing in our children’s textbooks by catering to pseudoscientific views of creationists and Intelligent Designers and to revisionist, right-wing expunging of our history?! But that is another story!) I hardly think Texans would stand for such an attack on their religious freedoms. Likewise, I think, would be Texan views on an attack upon the freedom of individual choice, upon the freedom of a woman to make the intimate decisions concerning her body.
Not only does the pro-life position seek to rob us of one gender’s freedoms, it does so hypocritically. Texas Republicans are so BIG on freedom, but, apparently, only the freedom of the male gender. Texas Republicans seek to purposely take away from women in Texas the freedom to choose, as if someone else besides the mother-to-be is better qualified to determine issues concerning her pregnancy than she! How sexist can you be?!?
Perhaps an analogy to the issue of slavery is appropriate. Just like African-Americans needed emancipation in order to have freedom of choice, women need emancipation, need manumission, in order to enjoy the full freedoms guaranteed to them by our Constitution. Pro-lifers too often behave as if they “own” a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion; pro-lifers are traffickers in that ownership.
As a segway into discussing Gov. Rick Perry’s role in all this, I remember as a young pre-schooler spending lots of time at both my grandparents’ places in the country. My maternal grandmother, my “Memo” McKinney, would allow me to assist her in tending to the hens in the henhouse, both day and night, in order to insure consistent household egg production and the hatching of new members of the henhouse. I learned that at night was a good time to inspect the eggs beneath the sleepy hens to cull the next day’s egg collection and to obtain eggs from hens who in the daytime wanted to hatch their clutch against the plans of Memo. I learned how to distinguish among fresh eggs for the house, eggs “too far along for the house” with a developing chick embryo, and, most importantly, rotten eggs, or “bad eggs.” It was important to identify a bad egg without breaking it and exposing its contents, for such an exposure “stank to high heaven.” (Borrowing from Asleep At The Wheel’s lyrics in “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road.”)
One of the biggest opponents to full freedom for women is Gov. Perry. When it comes to the present Texas governor, something is “stinking to high heaven.” Listen to his speeches in gubernatorial and Presidential campaigns. It makes you wonder….is he smart enough to see what a hypocrite he is when it comes to freedom? Does he know how hollow his scare tactics ring?
Rick Perry is a fellow Texas Aggie, but, to me, embarrassingly so. He received a BS degree from Texas A&M in animal science in 1972, the year I received my Ph.D. in physics from Texas A&M. He was in the Corps of Cadets, as was I for a year, and he was a Head Yell Leader while on campus. Despite these features in his biography, like so many Republicans without these features, he just does not seem very bright, or, else, he would see that the pro-life position is inhumane, unpatriotic, and downright non-Christian. (See The “A” Word — Don’t Get Angry, Calm Down, and Let Us Talk [April 2013]) Maybe being a Head Yell Leader kept him away from class too much?
During the 2012 Aggie football season, when Perry was running for President, my wife and I, as season ticket holders, expected to go down to College Station on home game days and see waves of Perry support as a sign of “Aggie solidarity.” We could count on two hands the number of Perry-supporting signs and shirts we saw ALL SEASON! Even his fellow Aggies know he is a “bad egg from the henhouse.” The contents of his politics have been exposed and they “stink to high heaven!” Personally, I do not know which Aggie over the years is more politically embarrassing in Texas, Rick Perry or Clayton Williams!
(Prejudiced though I am, I find bad eggs among Texas Aggies to be the exception rather than the rule. I can count on one hand throughout my life after college graduation the fellow “bad egg” Aggies to whom I’ve been compelled to say, “There are Aggies, and then, there are Aggies like you.”)
I’ll give him (Perry) credit for supporting universal vaccinations for cervical cancer for females in Texas. I only wish he was even a little bit more supportive of women in our State than that. And, I suppose, he deserves credit as providing the scapegoat vehicle by which to expand on the topic of abortion in this, my second post on the subject.
But, most of all, I am glad Rick Perry is not going to run again for governor of Texas. Let us hope this portends a growing recognition of him as a rotten egg.
All of this is but my opinion, nothing more and nothing less, as well argued as I hope it is. But transcendent of my opinion is what makes its expression possible — my individual freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom of choice — the rights with which we all should be blessed, including expectant mothers, no matter in what State we live.
Look at what the pro-lifers in Texas want to achieve. I hope you are, like so many others I know and myself, appalled and disgusted at this cowardly, calloused, and crushing attempt to destroy in a Nazi-like fashion human freedom, dignity, and health in our great State. The pro-life stance is unilateral, unthinking, and uncaring. The pro-choice stance is universal, respectful, and humane. The obvious “no-brainer” difference in the two stances is as blatant as the difference between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, between a stinky bad egg and a good egg for use in the house.