A Texas Democrat on Thursday called this year’s state legislature the most misogynistic she’s seen in her 21 years as a state representative, following a house vote that would have ended legal abortion care for pregnant Texans whose fetuses have medical anomalies that aren’t survivable outside the womb.
“Women are leaders of their families, whether some men in this room do not recognize that,” said state Rep. Jessica Farrar (D-Houston) in a pointed speech criticizing her male Republican colleagues for not supporting a bill that would expand access to breastfeeding and instead focusing on limiting access to legal abortion care.
Farrar took to the microphone after a debate about how best to retool the state’s social safety net turned to abortion, with a freshman Tea Party lawmaker attempting to insert an abortion ban into a bill concerning the bureaucratic operations of the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) put forward an amendment that would make it illegal to terminate a pregnancy after 20 weeks, even if a fetus “has a severe and irreversible abnormality,” effectively forcing families with wanted, but unsustainable pregnancies to carry to term at the behest of the state and against the advice of their doctors or their own wishes.
Schaefer said, during debate over his amendment, that suffering is “part of the human condition, since sin entered the world.”
Even some Republican lawmakers opposed Schaefer’s proposal, casting it as a cruel and unnecessary intrusion into the lives of grieving Texans.
“Why should the heavy, blunt hand of the government come into that most heartrending decision?” said Rep. J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville), a medical doctor.
Schaefer’s amendment passed, briefly, before state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio) filed a legislative point of order that prompted the bill’s sponsor to pull down the entire piece of legislation for review.