Monday, April 22, 2019

#TXLEGE: Sham Bill Nevertheless Accomplishes Political Purposes

"But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
Matthew 18:6

[Note: Van Halen's "Runnin' with the Devil" literally came on in the background as we sat down to write this blog post.]

Fascinating write up in the Texas Observer over last week's passage of the 'born-alive' act:
As the Texas House voted on the first anti-abortion bill to make it to the floor this session, advocates rolled down a banner above the board displaying lawmakers’ votes: “STOP TURNING LIES INTO LAWS.”

The House gave initial passage to the bill, titled the “Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act,” after a brief but tense floor debate Tuesday evening, and gave it a final stamp of approval on Wednesday. The measure, House Bill 16, is Texas’ version of a national proposal that failed in the U.S. Senate earlier this year. HB 16 would penalize doctors who don’t give full medical treatment to babies born alive after abortion. Practically speaking, the bill does very little: There have been zero cases reported by the state since it started tracking them in 2013. Even if it did occur, federal law already requires infants born alive at any stage in development be given equal protection. But abortion-rights advocates say the measure is dangerous political propaganda that aims to paint abortions later in pregnancy as extreme and target the doctors who provide them.

[Note: Emphasis added.]
Money quote from Donna Howard:
“We refuse to waste the limited time we have here to take care of the people’s business by entertaining malicious and purely political attacks against women and doctors,” Howard said. “We refuse to ignore the expertise of medical professionals and allow them to be targeted and harassed. We refuse to use the power entrusted in us by our constituents and the voters of Texas for political theater, or to be party to turning lies into law.”
Here's the thing: Donna Howard is correct.  This 'born-alive' bill is political theater.  But (like all Democrats) she misunderstands the intended target of the theatrics.  In her misunderstanding, she led Democrats right into the trap.

Allow this guy to explain:


As we explained about six weeks ago:
There's nothing inherently wrong with this bill.  Obviously, babies still alive after an abortion deserve medical care.  But, notice that phrase: After an abortion.
A month ago, following Democrats' stunt at the committee hearing:
This bill doesn't stop a single abortion.  This bill only goes into effect after the baby is 100% outside the birth canal.  That's why we've been unenthusiastic about it.  But Holy Toledo Democrats....

There will be plenty of time to discuss the proper response, but it's worth taking a second to reflect on the insanity of this position: Texas Democrats want to Deny Medical Care to Infants who are 100% outside the birth canal.
Again, The Texas Observer article linked above is correct. This bill doesn't stop a single abortion.  That's not its purpose.

The purpose of the 'born-alive' bill is to find an obvious, common sense, issue with almost zero practical impact.  Then get the Democrats to vote against it.  Which most of them just did (more on that below).


This issue polls well with suburban women.


Here's what's crazier: In a session in which 'bi-partisanship' (hashtagNewDay, hashtagTexasPlan, hashtagTheTimeisNow) is all the rage, the Democrats could have used this to neutralize abortion as a campaign issue.

Had the Democrats gone along with this farce, they could have taken a vote for political cover without stopping a single abortion.

They could have made it all about 'bi-partisanship.'  They could have spun it as being 'magnanimous.'  They could have appeared to have made a concession (without conceding anything in reality).  Heck, they probably could have traded their support for several Billion dollars of additional spending.

Instead, they took the vote they took.....


Democrat State Reps elected in 2018 who voted against 'born-alive' act:
  • Michelle Beckley
  • Rhetta Bowers
  • John Bucy
  • Gina Calanni
  • Art Fierro
  • Vicki Goodwin
  • Julie Johnson
  • Ray Lopez
  • Terry Meza
  • Lina Ortega
  • Ana-Maria Ramos
  • John Rosenthal
  • James Talarico
  • Erin Zweiner
Obviously, a few of those are safe seats where one Democrat took over for another.  But most of those are districts the D's picked up last fall.  Good luck defending that vote.

Furthermore, most of those Democrats are white, a point upon which we will elaborate below.


Let's return to the Texas Observer article that was the original reason for this blog post:
The bill passed, 93-1-50; Republicans were joined by 12 Democrats to support it, while state Representative Harold Dutton, D-Houston cast the sole “no” vote and 50 lawmakers registered “present, not voting.”
Sssssssssay what?!?  12 Democrats voted for the 'born-alive' act?!?  While there are a handful of D's that vote for pro-life bills, 12 is really high.

Which ones?!?

[Note: Joe Moody later made a journal statement for the bill.]

The overwhelming majority of those members are Black or Hispanic; all of those members, except one, represent majority-minority districts.

That's a racial dynamic Republicans should exploit.

Especially when white Democrats are taking the votes referenced above.


Bottom Line: We'd rather prevent abortions, but we'll take the campaign issue....

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