By Dave Andrusko
We all know that when pro-life Texas Gov. Rick Perry signs HB 2 into law, this pro-unborn child, pro-woman legislation will be challenged in court. But the ongoing battle—which actually has been part and parcel of the fight over how to understand HB 2 from the beginning—is which narrative will carry the day.
This can be understood in many ways, some of which we’ll explore below. But the primary test will be not just whether the dominant media narrative—that the bill is “radical,” “extreme,” “sweeping,” etc.—will convince the public but whether the true breadth of the genuine radical opposition to the bill will ever see the light of day. It goes without saying that the two go hand-in-hand.
Who is in line with the public on the issue of whether it is acceptable to abort children in the second and third trimesters? Back in January Gallup reported that “support drops off sharply, to 27%, for second-trimester abortions, and further still, to 14%, for third-trimester abortions. Gallup has found this pattern each time it has asked this question since 1996, indicating that Americans attach much greater value to the fetus as it approaches viability, starting in the second trimester.” A separate June poll of Texans found 62% supported a ban on abortions after 20 weeks.
What to do? Whatever pro-abortionists do, the common denominator is to talk about something else. Turn a measure that is widely supported into a test of support for “overturning Roe v. Wade.” Take the public’s eye off the ball—pain-capable babies dying deaths that are horrible beyond imagination. And also talk about other parts of the bill.
There has been relatively little attention paid to one other component of the bill, intended to protect the health of the mothers. The abortionist would be required to administer chemical abortifacients in person, rather than via videoconferencing where he is never in the same room with the mother. That will get more notice when the law is challenged, which will give supporters opportunity to point to the deaths and thousands of “adverse effects” that have been associated with two-drug abortion technique.
Most of the pro-abortion focus is on the requirement that abortions be performed at an ambulatory surgical center and that the abortionist have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, in case there are complications. And there are complications, including deaths, from abortions.
In line with the response to the ban on post-20 week abortions (because the child can feel pain by that juncture), the comeback is that virtually all abortion clinics in Texas will be forced to shut down.
You probably remember columnist and commentator Kirsten Powers, who we wrote about at length a couple of months ago. The work of Powers, along with that of GetReligion’s Mollie Hemingway, were the primary fulcrum that leveraged at least some mainstream media coverage of the Kermit Gosnell murder trial.
After the first special session, Powers wrote another brilliant piece for The Daily Beast, “I don’t stand with Wendy Davis” [www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/02/kirsten-powers-i-don-t-stand-with-wendy-davis.html].
As she did with the (non-)coverage of the Gosnell trial, Powers refuses to turn this into a male/female battle. She reminds her readers of what doesn’t get discussed—for example, the development points unborn babies have already reached and yet can still be killed.
Powers also wrote about the clinic regulations which are
“similar to what was passed in Pennsylvania in 2011 after the Gosnell horror. The New York Times warned that the Texas bill ‘could lead to the closing of most of Texas’s 42 abortion clinics.’ That sounds familiar.
“In 2011, the Pennsylvania ACLU claimed a post-Gosnell bill ‘would effectively close most and maybe all of the independent abortion clinics in Pennsylvania.’ Last month, a Pennsylvania news site reported that ‘several’ abortion clinics have closed, which isn’t quite the Armageddon the abortion-rights movement predicted.”
Moreover, who is closer to (in this case) the Texas public on whether there should be more regulation of abortion? The same Texas Tribune poll alluded to above found that “Laws restricting abortion should be stricter, according to 38 percent of the respondents, while 26 percent said the laws should be less strict and 21 percent said they should be left as they are now.” In plain English, half again as many Texans wanted stricter abortion laws as those who wanted less strict laws.
So when the smoke is cleared, there is every reason to believe the specifics of HB 2 are supported by the Texas electorate. So, obviously, objective number one for pro-abortionists is to make sure the smoke is a permanent feature, thus making an honest discussion very difficult, if not impossible.
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Final thought: pro-abortionists are on the wrong side of this (and similar bills introduced and/or passed in other states). THEY, not we, are the radicals.
And that doesn’t even address what we talked about in “Just how far will pro-abortionists go? A look back at the battle in Texas”: the willingness of our opposition to go to any lengths to thwart the democratic process, up to and including bullying and physically intimidating pro-life legislators and pro-lifers demonstrating their support for HB 2.
That is a truth that NARAL and Planned Parenthood and their legion of media enablers will go to any lengths to keep hidden.