Anti-abortion Extremists Are Repeating the Same Mistruths about Last Year's 'People's Filibuster'

by Dan Quinn

One year after the Texas Legislature passed some of the most extreme anti-abortion legislation in the nation, religious-right groups still treat supporters of women’s reproductive health care with open contempt. Today, for example, The Justice Foundation — a radical anti-abortion group based in San Antonio — sent out a nasty press release attacking the thousands of Texans who took part in the “people’s filibuster” at the at the State Capitol last summer.

In that press release Allan Parker, president of The Justice Foundation, calls those advocates of abortion rights a “mob”:

“I was there a year ago when mob rule was attempted in Texas. I was not there the night of the first filibuster, but I was at home watching it on my computer. The mob and Senator Wendy Davis accomplished through shouting, screaming and disruption, what they could not achieve through persuasion when the first filibuster worked to thwart the will of the majority.”

Parker fails to recount how anti-abortion lawmakers arrogantly shut down a public hearing on their bill, turning away many women who had waited for hours in a packed hearing room to speak out against the attack on women’s reproductive health care. He also doesn’t acknowledge how Senate leaders vandalized their own rules in an effort to silence Sen. Davis and pass their bill even after the clock had run out on them. Those events brought thousands of Texans to the Capitol to protest — peacefully but with determination — efforts by anti-abortion extremists to impose their ideological agenda on women across the state.

Parker also repeats some of the same myths and distortions those anti-abortion extremists have been pushing over the past year. He absurdly suggests, for example, that women’s health care advocates at the Capitol were Satanists and that he felt physically in danger:

The DPS troopers were not sure they could control the mob. I was there when I was escorting a group of women hurt by the abortion industry, past the mob who was yelling at them: ‘Shame, shame, shame.’ I have never before been in a place where I thought the crowd would have picked up rocks and thrown them at me if any had been handy. The hate was very real!

The sneering suggestion that advocates of abortion rights were violent is similar to the discredited claims that those advocates also brought jars of feces and urine into the Capitol during the protests. In contrast, Parker portrays anti-abortion protesters as “sensible, decent law-abiding citizens” who opposed the “mob”:

“They were kind and loving, even to those who would have been happy to spit in their face.”

“Kind and loving”? Those extremists called supporters of women’s access to abortion care a “crazy mob,”  “pro-death,”  “stinky stalking feminists” and “feminazis.” One far-right leader even called them “nasty” and suggested that they be sterilized. Those were the real voices of hate at the Capitol.

What’s worse, though, is that those anti-abortion extremists were lying to Texans, pretending that House Bill 2 was intended to protect the health and safety of women. In fact, the real intent of HB 2 was to close clinics and make it harder for women to get access to abortion care. In fact, this fall the number of clinics providing abortion care for women could be just six in all of Texas — down from 44 in 2011.

Click here to share your own personal story from the Capitol last summer or your experiences with reproductive health care. And while you’re on the #FightBackTX website, make sure to send an email telling lawmakers that you oppose any efforts to restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion care.

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