The Texas Department of Public Safety has finally released documents, requested by various media outlets, regarding claims by DPS officials, politicians and religious-right activists that demonstrators brought jars of feces and urine to the Capitol in July to protest extreme anti-abortion legislation. The Texas Observer reports:

What the documents show is that DPS collected and shared information, including rumors and off-hand Twitter remarks as well as Facebook postings, about pro-choice protesters during the showdown in the Senate in July. “Per Lt. Esquivel, rumors are out there saying that the orange women will be taking off their clothes, urinating and defecating in the Senate gallery today,” wrote Susan Fafrak, an analyst in the Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division of the Texas Fusion Center, in an email on Friday, July 12. “I am still searching form [sic] some sort of confirmation of this.”

Based on the documents released by DPS today, their hottest sources of intel are tweets from pro-life activists orRepublican legislative staffers, or pro-choice protesters joking about the rumors’ absurdity. The documents suggest a law enforcement agency joining in the echo chamber….

The documents also demonstrate that DPS director Steve McCraw was upset about press coverage… Read More

The Texas Observer reports that the Texas Department of Public Safety will release documents the Observer and other media outlets have requested regarding allegations that pro-choice activists brought jars of feces and urine to the Capitol when protesting extreme anti-abortion legislation this summer. Religious-right groups and Republican politicians like Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst have used those allegations — for which the DPS and Dewhurst have provided no evidence — to attack pro-choice activists as an unruly mob.

The DPS had earlier asked the Texas Attorney General’s Office for an official opinion on whether it must turn over any such information. The department now appears to have reversed course and says it will release that information, the Observer reports.

From the Observer story:

“Republicans have complained that Poopgate is silly. Here’s the thing: This is a ridiculous scandal. And it’s one that exists (and continues on and on) because of DPS and Dewhurst. In the heat of an unprecedented moment at the Texas Capitol, the state law enforcement agency issued a press release accusing citizens of bringing jars of ‘suspected’ feces and urine into the Capitol but has been unable to point to any evidence to back up… Read More

Remember our post about disputed claims that pro-choice advocates brought jars of feces and urine to the Texas Capitol earlier this month to protest legislation that could effectively ban abortion throughout much of the state? Religious-right groups and their legislative allies have used those claims to smear the citizens who went to the Capitol to support women’s access to reproductive health care services.

Reporters were unable to find any Department of Public Safety troopers at the time who said they saw people bringing jars of excrement to the Capitol. Even so, DPS officials sent out a news release saying that troopers did discover such items, but that the people who brought them to the Capitol voluntarily discarded them.

Well, reporters sent the DPS requests under the Texas open records law, asking for documents and other materials that led to the DPS news release. A writer for the Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express-News now reports that the DPS has asked the Texas Attorney General’s Office whether it has to comply with that request.

Hmmm…… Read More

The far right’s war on women at the Texas Capitol didn’t end in the state Senate last weekend. Friday night’s passage of extreme anti-abortion legislation has followed years of other efforts to limit women’s access to birth control and students’ access to sex education that would help reduce teen pregnancies and the number of abortions in Texas. And those efforts will almost certain continue.

But what’s different now is that tens of thousands of Texas women and men are fighting back harder then ever before. Together we are determined to stop the war on women, get politicians out of the private lives of Texans and provide responsible sex education in public schools.

All of us have been outraged as well as inspired by what we’ve heard in this debate. Tell us what were some of your favorite (or most enraging) quotes of the last month in the comments below, or tweet @TFN using the hash tag #StandWithTxWomen, and we’ll feature some of those quotes. We’ll get started with this despicable tweet from Peggy Venable, head of the far-right group Americans for Prosperity-Texas:

Bu then we heard inspiring voices, like Cecile Richards’. The Texas Freedom Network founder… Read More

As the Texas Senate prepared to pass legislation today that would put severe limits on women’s ability to make their own decisions about their reproductive health, Department of Public Safety troopers also took something else from them: their tampons.

News that DPS troopers were confiscating feminine hygiene products from women wanting to watch the abortion debate from the Senate gallery spread throughout the blogosphere and Twitterverse. From the Austin-based Burnt Orange Report blog:

Women are being forced to throw out tampons and maxi pads to enter the Senate gallery, which has been confirmed by DPS.

That’s right: menstruating women are being denied entry to the Senate gallery unless they throw out their supplies.

Additionally, diabetics are asked to throw out their sugar packets.

However, people with concealed handgun licenses are allowed to bypass long lines to enter the Capitol itself through the expedited CHL entrance, and per a DPS officer, if a person has a CHL, they can take their gun into the gallery.

Guns yes, tampons no.


More here from the Houston Chronicle’s blog.Read More