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

Today Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed sweeping anti-abortion legislation that severely restricts women’s ability to make their own medical decisions and decide whether and when to have children. Thousands of women and men from across the state have come to the Texas Capitol in recent weeks to protest the legislation’s passage. Many others took action in their local communities to organize opposition to this newest assault in the right’s war on women and women’s health care.

The question before all of us now is: will you remember? Will you remember the politicians and activist groups who put government between women and their doctors? Will you remember the contempt that so many of those politicians and activists expressed during this debate?

We’ve already reported about some of the outrageously offensive rhetoric from the right. State Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, for example, called opponents of the bill “terrorists.” Cathie Adams, head of the far-right group Texas Eagle Forum, sneeringly called them “stinky stalking feminists” and “feminazis.” Another right-wing activist, Peggy Venable of Americans for Prosperity-Texas, called opponents “nasty” and declared that they “should not procreate” and should be sterilized. Others even called state Sen.… Read More

The blogosphere went wild last Friday when it was discovered that Texas Department of Public Safety troopers were confiscating tampons from women trying to watch the final Senate debate on extreme anti–abortion legislation at the Capitol in Austin. Then DPS officials said they had also stopped citizens from bringing more than a dozen containers with “suspected” feces and urine inside the Capitol. Religious–right groups and politicians latched on to that claim in their efforts to attack pro-choice activists. “My constituents don’t bring feces, urine, used tampons and bricks to throw at DPS,” state Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, said in one sneering tweet.

But did pro-choice activists really try to bring containers of feces and urine into the Capitol to throw at DPS troopers (or anybody else)?

Today state Rep. Donna Howard, D–Austin, posted on Facebook her concerns about the claim:

Interesting. I sent a letter to DPS on July 15 in an effort to get more information regarding the report of suspected urine/feces being brought to the capitol during the hearing on HB2. Though KVUE reports that they received DPS’ response to my letter yesterday, I have… Read More

Fox News commentator and former Republican presidential candidate and Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee will join state and national religious-right groups at an anti-abortion rally set for this Monday evening (July 8) at the Texas Capitol in Austin.

The far-right Texas Pastor Council earlier today told its supporters by email that the “prayer rally” with Huckabee is set for 6:30 p.m. A Concerned Women for America email sets the rally time for 7 p.m. It’s unclear right now whether these are two separate events.

According to the CWA email, other speakers will include that group’s national leader, Penny Nance; former Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, who is now with the Susan B. Anthony List, which supports anti-abortion candidates for office; Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar of the reality show 19 Kids & Counting on the TLC channel; and “and other well-known national pro-life leaders.”

The rally’s organizers support proposed legislation that would effectively ban abortion in much of Texas. Opponents of that legislation as well as efforts to limit women’s access to family planning services, including birth control, rallied at the state Capitol last Monday.

UPDATE: We just saw a Texas Eagle Forum email noting Dr. Robert Jeffress, the… Read More

With Sen. Wendy Davis earning widespread praise and support for her courageous filibuster in the Texas Senate last week, some on the right apparently have decided to adopt an old tactic often used against influential women: make her physical appearance an issue.

We first saw this vicious post on a new anonymous blog – realwendydavis.wordpress.com – yesterday. (The blog’s tagline: “A closer look at the Left’s new feminist superhero.”)

The post asks in its headline: “Wendy Davis: Surgically Constructed ‘Human Barbie Doll’?” It then goes on to compare her physical appearance today to how she looked more than two decades ago. From the post:

Somehow, during the past two decades she has been transformed from a frumpy, pleasant looking but plain-faced, flat-chested brunette with thick, messy hair, into a buxom blonde with excellent facial features and sleek, long, perfectly coiffed hair, like she stepped straight out of Vogue.

For someone who in the early 1990s was a feminist activist in law school, and who is currently posing as a champion of women’s rights, standing up to men who seek to dictate the way women should live, she seems to have devoted an unusual amount of attention to… Read More