I’m Naive, Not Stupid. There’s a Difference.

Gathering in the rotunda. Drop in the bucket of orange pro-choice supporters.

Gathering in the rotunda. Drop in the bucket of orange pro-choice supporters.

This morning I woke up after a surreal night with a lot on my mind. One phrase in particular was ringing in my ears: “Don’t be naive, Amy.”

Back when I quit writing for CultureMap Austin over a nasty, misogynist editorial masquerading as a news story by the Dallas staff, the business manager (then–he’s since been fired) called me up on the phone to “discuss” my decision.

What he really wanted was to cajole or shame me into reversing my position–if not publicly, at least in a private phone call. He talked in circles, but having survived grad school, I am not easily confused even by smart people talking in circles, much less idiots. While some of the details of the call have become fuzzy in my mind, one stands out. After he had failed to make his arguments look logical for half an hour, he went ahead and said what bullies always say in situations like this:

“Don’t be naive, Amy. We both know how this works. This is going to be news for about ten minutes, and then it’s going to blow over, and we’ll be fine. Why would we apologize?”

Why, indeed.

* * * * *

Yesterday, I went to the Capitol wearing a faded orange UT shirt to stand in an orange block of women’s rights advocates protesting the omnibus anti-choice legislation being forced through using Rick Perry’s weapon of choice, a special session, which allows Republicans to circumvent ordinary procedural rules.

I have never done anything like that before. I was in Chicago last week when my husband signed up along with 700 other citizens who had assembled, amazingly, in under 24 hours to testify against the bill in a public hearing. He was silenced in the early hours of the morning along with 300 other citizens when proceedings were shut down and testimony was arbitrarily cut off. I followed it all on the internet from O’Hare and promised myself that if it was still going on when I got back, I would surmount my embarrassment about my political ignorance and go there too.

I went to the Capitol because reading about Thursday night’s proceedings  made me wish I had the chance to show the world that Texans care about the rights of women.

In case you don’t know what the legislation would do, find some background here andhere, or just Google SB5. The information’s out there. The most important thing is that it will introduce burdensome restrictions that will shut down abortion providers statewide, leaving only 5 in the entire state of Texas.

Have you seen the state of Texas recently? It’s the size of France. 26 million people live here. About 13 million of them are women.

About 9.75 million of those women live in the “urban triangle” in close-ish (close is a relative term in a state this big) proximity to Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio. Those 9.75 million women would have their pick of 5 abortion providers, assuming they were willing and able to drive up to 6 hours to get one.And, you know, if there’s not a line.

The other 3.25 million women in Texas live in rural areas, in the Rio Grande Valley, in the Panhandle, in the long stretch of rocky desert that is West Texas. Many of these women suffer under conditions of poverty and marginalization that most Americans don’t believe still exist in their country. Pleading for exceptions, a rep from the Valley  testified that many of her constituents don’t have running water or indoor plumbing. These Texans are uninsured, and because of the dismantling of the Texas Women’s Health Program, they have no access to breast cancer screenings, cervical cancer screenings, STD screenings and prevention, and, of course, birth control. We also, as a state, withhold sex education from these women and girls.

(And always remember, when we talk about women getting health care, we are also talking about girls, children as young as 12, who cannot give their consent but somehow get pregnant anyway due to their extreme vulnerability to sexual abuse and assault, especially in impoverished and underserved communities.)

As a representative from a rural district pointed out last night, to ask these women to somehow pick up and drive 400 miles to a San Antonio clinic within the time frame and restrictions already dictated by Texas law (don’t forget that ultrasound, ladies!) is absurd, stunning, and laughable. (Is cryable a word?)

The irony of all this, the disgusting, horrific irony, is that the Republicans pushing this legislation have the unbridled gall to suggest that they are doing it “to protect women.” They are doing it under the auspices of increasing safety standards. They say that currently abortion providers have medical standards no better than “butcher shops.”

Do they understand what an actual “butcher shop” is? Because they will. Back-alley butcher shops will pop up like mushrooms if these bills go through. And we will learn a bloody lesson about what it means to vote “pro-life.” We will learn it on women’s bodies.

* * * * *

Now here’s the part where Amy, naive Amy, gets politicized. Are you ready? Because I went down to the Capitol with butterflies in my stomach, not just because of my ignorance of the political process, but because of my untested views on abortion, views I have never had to examine, explain, or defend at length, to myself or others.

I know that abortion is a moral, religious, ethical, and philosophical issue for many people. You don’t have to be a religious zealot to see that there are serious questions to be posed, especially in later-term pregnancy. As a doctor friend of mine told me, at 20 weeks, a fetus is approaching viability. There is a case to be made for restrictions after 20 weeks (though not, I want to emphasize, a ban). [There are already intense restrictions on these abortions in the state of Texas, and women who must make this difficult decision for medical reasons face enormous stigma. Please see the comments section for some of those women's stories. -Oed]

I will say it again: There is room for a real, legitimate debate about the specific terms and restrictions surrounding abortion.

So why should you still be out there screaming, “My body, my life, my right to decide,” with the orange-shirted women and men at the Capitol? If you have conflicting feelings, if you take the ethical concerns surrounding abortion at face value, why should you stand up and shake your fist and yell at the top of your lungs for “choice”?

Because the debate will never happen. Because it’s all a big fucking sham.

Don’t be naive, Amy, I can hear you saying. You didn’t know it was a sham? You thought Texas Republicans were actually invested in women’s health when they introduced this bill, in making medical procedures safer for women?

I wasn’t that naive. But I did think that state reps maybe, just maybe, had ethical and moral objections to abortion.

I no longer believe this is the case.

If they did, they would have debated the issue.

If they did, they would have answered questions about their own bill.

If they did, they wouldn’t have been playing Candy Crush on their cell phones, talking loudly to one another, milling around the floor, snoozing in their chairs, and cutting up like a pack of fourth-grade boys in gym class.

They wouldn’t have been showing each other stuff on their laptops and slapping each other on the back during nonpartisan testimony from the Texas Medical Association that as written, the legislation would introduce a new medical threat to all pregnant women because of a chilling effect on doctors—not abortion providers, mind you, we’re talking about ob/gyns—preventing them from making medical decisions to save the life of mother and child.

They wouldn’t have been smiling and bursting into unrelated laughter as a Democratic rep testified about the difficulty he and his wife had of conceiving their first child, speaking movingly of how serious and complicated an issue abortion was for him.

They wouldn’t have been facing the opposite direction or talking loudly on their cell phones when Rep. Dukes told the story of a woman she met who went through a botched, back-alley abortion before Roe V. Wade.

If Republican Pat Fallon, for instance, gave a shit about the life of the fetus, he wouldn’t have spent the entire eight hours of debate sneaking potato chips from a manila envelope, doing bizarre little dances from his chair, and brandishing a yardstick like a play sword to poke his buddies in the butt as they walked by. But Rep. Pat Fallon wasn’t actually fighting for the life of anything but his own political career. And all he had to do to accomplish that goal was to ignore every logical argument,  compassionate plea, and harrowing anecdote delivered that night, just plug his fat little ears and pretend he was back in the frat house. Mission accomplished.

House Republicans visibly not giving a shit. Couldn't catch the yardstick in action, sadly. It was hilarious though.

House Republicans visibly not giving a shit. Couldn’t catch the yardstick in action, sadly. It was hilarious though.

The blue-shirted true believers up in the gallery cared. They (or, more probably, others like them from out of town) elected him to fight for their pro-life agenda, and as far as they are concerned, he is doing his job, more or less. But do not for one second think it’s because he cares about the pro-life agenda. I watched him like a hawk last night, and while he provided plenty of much-needed amusement in the small hours of the morning, I guarantee you ladies and gentlemen, he did not care.

Rep. Farrar (Democrat from Houston) cared. She lost her voice after 19 hours of logical, compassionate, well-spoken argumentation that she knew was futile. Never once did Dems fall into meaningless chatter, not even after the bill’s supposed author (read: figurehead), Rep. Laubenberg, refused to answer further questions about her own bill. (I would think it was a strategic move, given her ridiculous gaffes–including demonstrating she literally has no idea what a rape kit is–but honestly she was probably just tired of pretending to care.) Rep. Dawnna Dukes (from the EAST SIDE baby! And classy as they come!) cared. She made reasonable, detailed, informed arguments, and delivered her last piece of well-crafted rhetoric at 3 in the morning in a crystal-clear voice. There were more. Believe me, I will figure out who is fighting for me, and I will thank them, individually, in emails when this is all over.

The amazing Rep. Sylvester Turner from Houston said it best in his rousing speech at the end of the night. I can’t find the exact quote on the internet, but the gist of it was this: If abortion is such a goddam serious issue, why wasn’t this legislation introduced earlier? Why was it introduced in a special session designed to push past all procedural rules and force the issue in a matter of days, with no chance for reasoned debate on both sides?

“What you vote for in the dark of night, you will be accountable for in the light of day!” he thundered, and the gallery, disobeying the House rules for the first time in 14 hours, burst into shouts and applause. Rep. Turner gestured toward us and demanded to know, if this was such an important issue, why  we had been silenced during the public hearing? Why wouldn’t Republicans defend their bill, or even answer questions about it, or consider any amendments?

The only answer of sorts came from the gallery, in the form of applause, and it was of course immediately suppressed with threats to remove us. The reps on the floor? They did not feel the need to look up from their Blackberries and iPhones, their potato chips and their yardsticks, their private conversations about the game or whatever else was on their minds.

Meanwhile, we who cared enough to sit there silently, powerlessly, for 14 hours were not even allowed to wiggle our fingers in the “silent clap” of solidarity. We who lined the gallery on all four sides, we who cared enough to be up in the middle of the night, were kept to the strictest rules of decorum, while overgrown frat boys threw figurative spitballs at one another on the floor during this serious debate.

It was a fucking sham.

Daylight left, these people hung around. And a whole whole bunch more.

Shhhh, no clapping from up there! This is just a tiny fraction of the folks who stayed into the night.

* * * * *

So by now you must be asking yourself: Is Amy still naive? Unbelievably, the answer is yes.

Despite the amazing cynicism I saw down on the floor last night, I am still naive enough to believe that my visible and vocal support of women’s rights will make a difference. And so are the hundreds of other orange-shirted Texans—more than a thousand all told, both women and the men who support us because they understand that we are all people, goddammit it. We are incredibly naive. We are naive enough to believe that our presence mattered, that it filled the House Dems with spirit and pride and motivation to do the most thankless work imaginable on the House floor: taking an issue seriously that Republicans in our state honestly could give a flying fuck about, so long as they get reelected.

We who are the under-dogs can afford to be naive, because we’ve got nothing but our bodies to lose.

*Read my follow-up account of Tuesday’s filibuster here.

Tagged , , , , ,

191 thoughts on “I’m Naive, Not Stupid. There’s a Difference.

  1. mbrolley says:

    I love this. Thank you, Amy. One of my favorite descriptions of a feeling is “stubbornly hopeful.” Stay stubbornly hopeful.

  2. Laurie Mann says:

    We will always need to fight for choice. Sad but true.

    I do not believe abortion is murder, but IF IT IS MURDER, it is murder in self-defense. Murdering a human being with a gun is practically a sacrament to many men.

  3. shelley says:

    couldn’t have said it better myself! This process has opened my eyes to a lot of the messed-up ways our laws get made. I felt silly for thinking my voice might actually be heard and make a difference, but then I realized we have to start somewhere. I think it’s more naive to just sit around going “oh well.” Glad to have been/be involved in this fight!

  4. Donna says:

    Thanks for writing this Amy. I’m sharing on my wall. Thanks for getting involved!

  5. Susan says:

    Thank you for this incredibly moving and well written article… I will share it everywhere and with everyone I know!

  6. Thank you for this. I have a small correction to offer. I was there until the end this morning, too. The Republicans did look up at the gallery when opponents burst into frustrated shouts and boos after the vote. They smirked at us. Not every one did, but my skin prickled and my blood ran cold when I saw their faces, looking at us for the first time. In that moment I felt rather sickened with defeat, and felt a brutal awareness of the cold calculation with which this legislation was brought to the floor. I’m ever thankful for the words of Reps. Dukes, Thompson, Menendez, and Farrar in the hallway afterward–they probably staved off a few nightmares, my own included.

  7. Reblogged this on Antigone Awakens and commented:
    Read this. Just read it. #IStandWithTexasWomen

  8. Christy says:

    Very well said. The lack of respect is amazing. Thank you for sharing. I am going to post this on my wall.

  9. Arcie Cola says:

    BRAVO!

  10. AC says:

    This got me so mad that I had no other choice but to cry.

  11. I’m gonna share this on my blog. Let’s both run for office or manage each other’s campaigns.

  12. Kathy Genet says:

    This is a perfect summation of what I saw last night. There is something so jarring about hearing testimony about incest and young girls being drowned out by laughter from a group of men.

  13. Carole Metccalf says:

    I think that it is very relevant to point out that terminations after 20 weeks are extremely rare (less than 2%) and are typically performed because of a fetal anomaly. The women and families faced with this devastating decision are more than aware that their child is reaching the age of viability. They’re also aware of the judgment facing them from a society that is unaware of those statistics. I am one of those women that chose to terminate for medical reasons at 22.5 weeks after receiving a prognosis of a terminal condition at 20 weeks and I can assure that there are already restrictions in place.

    • A victim says:

      I experienced this myself. I am from South Texas and I had a planned pregnancy and the doctor diagnosed the baby with severe anomalies. I had to drive to San Antonio to referred clinic. There was a lot of red tape. It was a horrific long wait, telling me it later after 20 weeks. It finally occurred at 23 weeks due there delays which became riskier for me.

    • Emily says:

      That is excellent information. Thank you for sharing and sorry that you had to make such a heartbreaking choice.

    • Guy in Austin says:

      My wife and I experienced a late term fetal demise, and even here, in Austin Texas, we couldn’t find any doctor who had experience and confidence to do anything other than induce labor. I was told that the interns and residents just aren’t getting trained anymore for anything late term other than c-sections and delieveries. Salt in the wounds at that point.

  14. marxiano says:

    Great piece, thanks for keeping up the good fight!

  15. Callie Thompson says:

    Beautifully written and deeply powerful. Thank you Amy! I echo Arcia, BRAVO!

  16. Joanie says:

    This is inspiring and reflects my feelings and thoughts.

  17. carolyn wonderland says:

    Thank You

  18. Julie says:

    Call me naive, too, but I think you made a huge difference! Thank you for writing this. Thank you for being there – you can be sure there were NUMEROUS others (like me) who could not be there in person, but were watching, following on twitter, etc and you made a difference with us. It’s incredible to know there are so many women in Texas who feel the same, who have felt we don’t have a voice. Now we know – we are not alone.

  19. It’s important to note that pretty much all of our representatives are just trying to get reelected. Some them haven’t been as jaded yet, sure, but the political process is about getting reelected and decreasing obstacles (which intelligent debate would fall under; we see this all the time in Congress, on both sides (the Health Care Act was pushed through)–the losers on any issue, knowing they’re losing the vote, are almost always more emboldened by actual values, because they know they’re losing as a politician, so they’re left with their humanity), not representing their constituents to their own detriment.

    Not to say we shouldn’t all be angry at the conduct of politicians. We just shouldn’t excuse such behavior from those ‘on our side’; politics is a knock-down-drag-out team sport because while we berate poor sportsmanship, we still encourage hitting below the belt when *we* benefit from it. It’s only when we stand our ground and demand more from representatives and respect all sides of the debate (which we will have to fight to have in the first place) that politicians will be forced to behave and won’t be able to exploit ‘us vs them’ rhetoric to manipulate us.

    That said, there’s nothing quite as disillusioning as our state legislature…

  20. Hey! That’s me in the blue hat and orange shirt! 13 hours and I had to wait an hour and a half for the buses to start running to get home and take care of my toddler. Who didn’t care that daddy was up all night btw. =) I had to take care of him today, but I’m hoping to come back Tuesday if we’re still fighting.

    Nice article. Remember people… government is a verb.

  21. Thanks for this great blog, Amy. I want to push, from a positive place, on some of what you said in it. You said:

    “I know that abortion is a moral, religious, ethical, and philosophical issue for many people. You don’t have to be a religious zealot to see that there are serious questions to be posed, especially in later-term pregnancy. As a doctor friend of mine told me, at 20 weeks, a fetus is approaching viability. There is a case to be made for restrictions after 20 weeks (though not, I want to emphasize, a ban with no exceptions for rape, incest, or threat to the health and safety of the mother, which is what this legislation would do).”

    I agree entirely that you don’t have to be a religious zealot to see the moral complexity of abortion, regardless of when it occurs. From the fact that it is morally complex, it doesn’t necessarily follow that there is a (legitimate) case to be made for banning or restricting procedures. Who is going to be the one who decides who gets a later abortion and who doesn’t? Are you willing that it be you? Rep. Laubenberg? Some medical board packed by Republican gamesmanship with people who want to deny women abortions? I don’t disagree with what your doctor friend said about 20 weeks and the approach of viability. Your doctor friend may have also mentioned to you that many fetal anomalies are not detected until the 20 week ultrasound. Doctors, particularly those who provide abortions, have an interesting perspective in that they are the ones who have to decide for themselves what their emotional limits are. This is okay — doctors are human beings, and it’s important that we respect the limits they feel for themselves in how far out gestationally they are willing to go. But for the state to impose that restriction — particularly based on junk science, and in completely denial of why women have later abortions — is a different thing entirely. And indeed, these law makers largely believe that women should carry all pregnancies to term, regardless of the prognosis for the fetus (or the woman, for that matter).

    If you are interested in learning more about the reality (versus the right wing talking points) of later abortion, I suggest that you watch the documentary “After Tiller” (http://aftertillermovie.com/) about the very few providers in the country who provide later abortions, and read the work of Dr. Lisa Harris who writes about how we can acknowledge the ethical complexity (and even violence) involved in abortion without completely ceding that ground to the slippery slope reasoning of bright lines. (http://lib.tcu.edu/staff/bellinger/abortion/Harris.pdf)

    • amyegentry says:

      Thanks, F, this is awesome and informative. I’ve heard from several people on this issue, and I encourage anyone who has or firsthand experience with late-term abortion to post (anonymously if you wish) about it. We absolutely need to hear more women talking about this experience. When I said “restrictions,” I confess I didn’t really have a clear picture of how restricted late-term abortions already are (see commenter Carole Metcalf above), nor did I intend to suggest there should be more. Just quoting my anonymous “doctor friend” (and I think you can probably guess who she is!), who was also not trying to suggest additional restrictions, just stating that it is reasonable for people to have questions.

      • RJD says:

        Being an AMA mother I was offered earlier testing. We lost our son to a chromosomal abnormality at less than 20 weeks. Had I been younger we would probably not have learned of his condition until well into the third trimester.

        People tend to understand ‘save the life of the mother’, but few think about saving a child from suffering. It was by far the most gut wrenching decision I have ever made. He was a very much wanted baby and I still grieve for him every day. But I know in my heart that we made the best decision.

    • I sincerely appreciate the information shared here. My daughter and I were just discussing the emotional response to late term abortions. I made the point that the statistical number of these abortions past 20 weeks had to be small but I had no back up information.

  22. Donna says:

    Thank you very much Amy!!!

  23. Chris Smith says:

    I am so moved by this article. Seriously brilliant (and sad) depiction of reality. Thank you for writing it and involving yourself in the process.

  24. Mary Dean says:

    who are you, Amy? And where have you been all our lives?

  25. shmarg says:

    FDT, I totally agree with you about the 20 week ultrasound. I think that lethal congenital anomalies (which comprise a large proportion of third trimester abortions) are not discussed enough in the discourse of late term abortion. Though many women who discover they are carrying a baby who won’t be able to survive for long after birth still choose to give birth, and I support that decision, many will also want to terminate. And it’s so important that that remains an option.

  26. This is wonderfully written and it’s unbelievable that it is possible in this day and age to get away with this type of behavior.

    Did anyone manage to capture these antics on video, and if so, where is it? I want to fire my representatives and this is a PERFECT way to do it.

  27. You rock the dome, baby! Welcome to the fight. Don’t stop. You are EXACTLY the woman we need to reach in this fight. We have to wake up and fight back. This is the most important issue to many because it’s such a fundamental right – the right to our own bodies, free from the state. But we also need to be paying attention to other issues as well. This State House thinks they can get away with anything – because they have. Thank you, Amy. Thank you for being there.

  28. Leslie says:

    You described the scene just as I witnessed it too. To watch “the boys” in the back recreating a boxing match they’d seen, to watch others autograph photos of themselves rather than giving respectful attention to the speakers sharing heart-wrenching, intimately personal stories of women was really troubling. But different people have different ways of dealing with hearing about horrible situations, so I have a little understanding. But a handful of Representatives openly mocking the observers in the gallery is absolutely inexcusable.

  29. Susan Downs says:

    Thank you for writing about your recent experience with the State Legislature. The political system can be pretty self serving and unfair, but, as you said in your piece, it is made up of human beings, who can be self serving and unfair at times.
    I am confident that this experience will be a touchstone for you in the future. You appear to be a woman with deep convictions and astute observations. Your voice is powerful and cannot be silenced.

  30. Claire says:

    Brilliant and effective writing, thank you. Kind of makes me want to cry. Posted on FB.

  31. You summed up beautifully all the sick feelings I carried in my stomach all last night and since Thursday. I was at the state house Thursday night (and not allowed to speak) but I could not be at the capital. I kept the live feed going though ’til the bitter end. Tomorrow we head to the senate to watch it all over again…Perhaps those flippant, in-it-for-the-republican-cred sorry excuses for elected representatives are no longer so cavalier. We got the last laugh – so far – overwhelming their disruptive, rude antics with our silent majority. So, go ahead, republicans, don’t care. We will care enough for all of us; care enough to send you and your manipulative legislation packing.

  32. Jenni says:

    thank you so much for posting this inside view for those of us who did not make it. i feel i may too jaded to be “naive” about the underlying motives…but i still hope. i still protest. i still donate. i still share. i still strive to make the mindset of the city i call home (Austin) less of an island in a dangerously conservative sea and more of an octopus stretching out it’s infinite tentacles to bring the people together in support of what is actually right and good for Texas women.

  33. Maricela says:

    Texas Republicans. Pro-Life. Just don’t hold them accountable for feeding, educating, or medically providing. Yeehaw, ya’ll. Rape Kits are for cleaning out the uterus, said the Uneducated Texas Woman!

  34. Amy Pownall says:

    I read this aloud to my husband and son with tears welling up in my eyes. I was there Thursday and yesterday and came home dismayed, deflated… depressed. Thank you for putting into words what I wish I could… I’m Amy, and I’m naive… I’m pissed off and I vote.

  35. hoping for better says:

    You hit this on the head.

  36. CJ says:

    The only thing I will say to people like yourself, who have little understanding of politics, but show up anyway, is please, for the love of your uterus, vote. This could have all been avoided in 2010, the last time Rick Perry was elected, if more people like yourself had voted in Texas. The only reason the Legislature is this conservative is because the voters (and non-voters) of Texas have let this happen. If you go to the capitol and show your support, but don’t vote, then, yes, that is naive. The next election isn’t until November of 2014. I’ve been following Texas politics for ten years. Rick Perry has been the governor of Texas even longer than that. I’ve seen a lot things happen, but no matter, what some how Texas keeps electing more and more conservatives. This is because not enough people like you vote (btw I’m not assuming/accusing you didn’t vote, just saying more people like you should vote). The only naive thing to me, is to protest, but not vote. Your presence matters, but this entire movement that is happening now can mean one of two things in history: a blip on the radar of a random progressive outburst in the Texas sea of conservatism, or the beginnings of a sustaining progressive political movement in Texas. Your call.

    • D says:

      Let’s not discount the role of gerrymandering in the role of Texas politics, and its conservative politicians. The Texas GOP’s love for gerrymandering districts is stronger than anywhere I’ve personally seen.

  37. Carol98 says:

    I have no direct knowlege or opinion of this legislation in Texas. I can see your point, but haven’t had time to personally research it in depth, but I fight for your right to be heard. Keep fighting for what you believe in. Don’t go quietly into the night, but most importantly, keep your congressmen accountable and remember this when it’s time to vote.

  38. Barbara B. Hart says:

    I’m old enough to remember when women had to seek back-street, out-of-state, or out-of-country abortions. Many of those same women suffered from unsanitary, expensive, and dangerous conditions that sometimes left them unable to have children. A disturbing reference to using a coat hanger is not far-fetched.

    Some of us were taught that our rights end where other people’s rights begin and that we should not force our religious beliefs on others. My decision about my body is between me and my God.

    The long-standing, anti-Roe, anti-birth control movement has been climbing its ladder rung by rung and is savoring its recent public successes. We mustn’t be silent or naive and mustn’t go back to those dark days when women had no rights over their own bodies and were supposed to live in ignorance.

    What next? Take away our vote? I don’t think so!

  39. Allison Sliva says:

    Amy — you nailed the environment of the “respectable” Chamber rooms of the Capitol on the head. BUT, we need to be there for our Dem Reps. We must go back and be visible to the world. Keep writing and sharing the truth. Thanks for capturing the feelings so many of us feel of this “democratic process.”

  40. Carole Metcalf says:

    I love that this blog is spreading. However, it is spreading with the message that it’s okay to question those of us that have terminated after 20 weeks. We are a highly stigmatized, group even among those that identify as pro choice.

    • amyegentry says:

      Thank you so much for commenting. Several women have contacted me to let me know about their own experience with late-term abortion, or to point out the crushing stigma attached, or to detail the rigid restrictions already in place. (Look through the comments for some particularly eloquent statements.) These stories have been very moving to me, and I want to make sure you know that my intent was never to suggest that further restrictions should be placed on abortions after 20 weeks. I only meant to express my understanding that a reasonable person who is not a medical or legislative expert might have legitimate questions about the issue–questions that need to be answered with informed statements by those who are knowledgable about the issue. I urge you, if you have such a story or if you know someone who does, to share the story with Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis. Even well intentioned people like myself can be ignorant about the finer points of the abortion issue, which is one of the reasons it can feel scary to get involved. But I’m glad I did, because I’m learning a lot.

      • Carole Metcalf says:

        I have read all of the responses. I have also told my stories three times during this session. In fact, I was the only one to stand up in front of them (twice in front of the House and once in front of the Senate) and share my story about terminating for medical reasons. I was the only one, mainly because my reasons for doing so are private. Also, because I publicly put myself out there for others to judge. I have since seen this blog reposted several times and it breaks my heart that thousands of people will read that this blog, highly supported by the pro choice community, finds it reasonable to question my choice. I know that it isn’t my place to ask you to edit your blog but you have set my fight backwards.

    • amyegentry says:

      Thank you for standing up and telling your story multiple times, Carole. I will gladly edit my blog for clarity for those who don’t have time to read through the comments for my response. My blog got approx 8 hits a day before this, so I had no idea it would spread so far and was unprepared for the level of scrutiny it has gotten. However, I hope most readers will understand that my intent was not to suggest further restrictions on 20-plus weeks, andI will do all I can to help counter the stigma you and women like you have encountered.

      • Carole Metcalf says:

        Thank you Amy. I have no doubt that your heart is sincere and I appreciate you doing that more than you could know. It has left me fighting back tears at work.

      • DS says:

        Thank you Amy for exposing what is happening here in Texas and being open to feedback and willing to edit! One of the main tenets of this movement is that we can’t know everyone’s situation and we trust women to make the decisions that are best for them and their family. Publicly questioning the motivations of women who have to face this excruciatingly difficult decision is harmful to the solidarity of our movement. I am thrilled that what is happening here is getting so much publicity – with this article spreading far and wide I know we all want this movement to feel safe and supportive for all women – and men for that matter :)

  41. Keith Akins says:

    We can do something about this. Make your voice heard: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/find-your-representative/

  42. MamaWeb says:

    Here’s the problem, Amy. You write for people who already agree with you. And for the record, I’m one of those people. But can you tell me, honestly, that you really think a screed like this will do anything to change hearts or convice minds? I don’t belive you.

    And that’s not advocacy. That’s whining.

    In that sense, you’re a lot closer to these Republicans than you realize. You want a “real, legitimate debate” and you’re seriously pissed that it’s not happening. I am too. It’s terrible and tragic and demoralizing and sad that politicians these days aren’t interested in that debate. You’re right.

    But you know what doesn’t help? Calling people “fat” and “frat boys” and “fourth-graders.” And you know what else doesn’t help? Writing long, self-indulgent blog posts about how other people don’t pay attention to your arguments and then ignoring their arguments while calling them names.

    We need good writers, good people, like you. We need your words and your thoughts and your subscribers. But we don’t need this junk. The debates over women’s rights, healthcare, and abortion in this country are already far too politicized and too churlish. The Tea Party is corrupting the shit out of the debate on the right and lowering the overall level of discussion. Please stop doing the same on the left. Please. Put your considerable talents to a more productive use.

    • Kaci says:

      Amy is speaking plainly and bravely. Everyone has their own voice and I’d ask you to respect hers for what it is. She is putting her talents to an extremely productive use as this blog is actually GETTING THROUGH TO PEOPLE and getting shared. You can always write as you’d like “MamaWeb”. For now, the thousands of pageviews will speak for how well Amy’s words are actually affecting people. I think if she chose to stifle her spirit and thoughts for a more polite approach, this effect would not have happened in the same way.

    • amyegentry says:

      Yesterday I wrote this piece because I was bubbling over with thoughts and feelings and needed to write them down somewhere, which is indeed self-indulgent, in a way. I had no idea that so many people would see it–my blog usually gets about 3-10 pageviews a day (mostly from bots, I’m afraid). I am incredibly moved that so many people connected with it, and I’m thrilled that you took the time to read it and respond. I hope that I can make a difference in lots of other ways in the future–I certainly feel more armed to do so than I did 24 hours ago.

      • Wendy Leiva says:

        Hey — there is a LOT that can come of this, and don’t let folks call you a whiner, self-indulgent, any of that! Start by outing the shameful behavior of these representatives to their districts! You’d be surprised!

        You said:
        “Yesterday I wrote this piece because I was bubbling over with thoughts and feelings and needed to write them down somewhere, which is indeed self-indulgent, in a way. I had no idea that so many people would see it–my blog usually gets about 3-10 pageviews a day (mostly from bots, I’m afraid). I am incredibly moved that so many people connected with it, and I’m thrilled that you took the time to read it and respond. I hope that I can make a difference in lots of other ways in the future–I certainly feel more armed to do so than I did 24 hours ago”

    • IA says:

      I disagree!

      I have not kept up with the issue of abortion rights, largely because I have such conflicted feelings about abortion. As a young woman, I saw abortion used as birth control many, many, many times. It saddened me and really sickened me to see the beginnings of precious lives discarded because my friends repeatedly didn’t think ahead. (That is what it was…over and over again, really, I was there)

      However, I know that there are cases when abortion is ethically defensible, for crying out loud. Of course there are!

      So, busyness and investing my life into things I feel passionate about has been the way to go for me. The whole issue of abortion rights has not been one I keep up with; frankly, it has been one I avoid.

      Then I read this blog.

      I read it as an emotional response to a night trying to make a difference. I may not be a well laid out political piece arguing on behalf of abortion rights; but unless I missed something, that isn’t the point being made here.

      Calling out our elected officials for their bad behavior is needed! This is not whining, this IS advocacy. I see this piece as advocating for leaders to behave appropriately, to engage in debate and to be honest about their positions. I see this piece as advocating for responsible use of power.

      I read the blog and now I care, now I am listening.

      What? I say. Our elected officials aren’t engaging in any sort of debate? They aren’t even listening? Not only that, they are being disrespectful and crass to their constituents? They are only interested in maintaining power? They don’t care what is wrong or right, they just want to stay in office? Why, so they can poke each other in the butt?

      I read the blog and I am outraged!

      Political leaders only interested in the status quo are dangerous!

      I read the blog and now I know, now I care, now I am listening, now I will get over my discomfort and care enough to do something.

      • MamaWeb says:

        Since we’re being indulgent (which I agree is sometimes all but unavoidable and fine in moderation) indulge me in a little thought experiment. You’re stumbling around the web and you click on a link to a blog. It’s some sort of right-winger, libertarian, tea-party type. It goes like this:

        “Last night as I calmly tried to explain the immorality of killing fetuses–babies!–outside the Massachusetts capital the liberals were at it again. All these damn unwashed hippies and stoners showed up with their hemp skirts and hairy appendages and started carrying on. Typical hippie shit. They won’t engage us on the real issues. Instead they shout and scream inarticulate nonsense about the so-called right to choose–choose to kill their own babies, that is. Sickening. One of the reps tried to show some pictures of aborted babies and read a moving story about that baby-killer abortion doc but the Democrats paid him no mind. They sat there and chatted and braided eachother’s hair and laughed about their plans to force Communism on our state. One sickly looking vegan spent the whole night eating veggie-chips out of a manilla envelope just like he was back on the organic farm. The libs don’t care about having a “real debate”–they just want a chance to engage in their hairy hysterics and carry out their PC witch-hunts and scream about the injustice of it all. But there’s room for real debate here and we should have it. That’s important.”

        Are you persuaded? Are you convinced that this person cares about having a “real debate” as much as heclaims to?

        Do you think maybe the Tea Party would jump all over it? Would it make the rounds on all the conservative blogs–in large part because it was such a juicy cheapshot at those hated progressives?

        Want to know what I think? Probably not but indulge me just a little more. Cons would love it, libs would hate it. Hate it. And now we’re not even back where we started–it’s much worse than that. That “real legitimate debate” is even less likely. That’s sad. Sad for both sides and for the state we share. And especially sad for those Texas women who don’t have access to family planning options and desperately need them.

        At some point, we on the left (especially here in Texas) need to realize that engaging in debate means just that–engaging in debate. And you can’t have a meaningful discussion when you caricature and namecall and drag your opponent through the mud and all but dehumanize those who disagree with you. If there truly is room for disagreement here–and I think we can all agree that there is–then we’ve got to respect those who don’t agree with us. Until we learn to disagree civilly, we can’t expect progress to be made and minds to be changed. Let’s start now.

      • amyegentry says:

        I don’t want to keep on this thread, but I do want to say that I observed every single thing I listed in the piece happening on the floor with my own eyes. (With the exception of the “spitballs” which I called “figurative” to distinguish them from reality.) While I cannot prove that Rep. Pat Fallon was once in a fraternity, I will do my research on that and get back to you. The question of whether his ears are fat is subjective, I leave it up to you to decide.

      • Salmo says:

        The difference, MamaWeb, is that ALL anti-abortion sites are like that, because that’s all they have. It’s impossible to argue the anti-woman side from a calm and rational standpoint. On the other hand, pro-choice blogs are usually polite and accomodating and contain a lot of science. So the equivalent to this would be a calm, polite, and measured anti-abortion piece, which I think a lot of us would be interested to read.

    • raunaq1991 says:

      Calling people “fat” and “frat boys” and “fourth graders” might not help but its her view, and a fine view at that.Self indulgent blog posts by bloggers who literally vent their hate and rant about something bothering them is what real writing is. Words are given power by the authors emotions, and i believe Amy is one of those few people who really gives enough of a shit to write like this. Beautiful piece Amy, it made me feel proud. :)

    • DonnaFaye says:

      Your concern is duly noted.

    • dragonmommie says:

      I have to say that this is the first of Amy’s posts that I’ve ever read. I believe (and hope) that someone will read her words and be inspired. You never know how words will affect someone, anyone, at least one person. Who knows. Politics in this country are in the toilet on BOTH sides, long before Amy started writing.

      • dragonmommie says:

        For the record, and because I am new here, I’ll state that I am anti abortion and have not always been received politely in other venues. This is a highly emotional and charged issue and I don’t believe that science plays a very big part in the arguments around this issue. It’s a moral issue. For whatever reason, medical or if it was rape, or whatever, a human life is being away. This is what I oppose and, yes, I am emotional and I’ll say that my mind cannot be changed about it. Before I gave birth to my son, I didn’t care one way or another. When I was pregnant I read a lot on late term abortions and I could not believe what I was reading about that. Made me absolutely sick. There are always options, but none of them are accepted because of Women’s Rights. Now, I find myself taking a stand, the first in my whole life. I come on the internet every day and read about animal activists fighting for dogs, cats, whatever animal. I read about people who fight for the right to kill their own babies…. their own babies. What is wrong with this picture? Who will fight for the unborn child? Murder is being wrapped up in the cloak of “Women’s Rights,” but LOOK and UNDERSTANS what you are really fighting for… I know, I’ve heard the arguments in favor of abortion and it boggles my mind that such intelligent people want to commit such an act that, if committed mere months later, would be considered (finally) murder and someone would be put into jail and ostracized by the community.

        But I came hear and read Amy’s post. We all have the right to a voice. In my opinion, Amy is sincere and has not spouted out hate. With hate in the picture, no meaningful debate is possible. I’m not saying anyone here has spouted hate, but I’ve seen it all over the internet. Hate is an emotion that does not belong here. Everyone has personal experiences, and I admit that I was in a debate about abortion with some friends, not knowing that one of them had had a “reduction”… something I hadn’t heard of until really AFTER that conversation. I felt horrible, but sometimes people are pushed into making these hard decisions; and I also know at least one person who has had an abortion. It’s hard to come to conclusions, so I decided long ago that this is something that we, as humans cannot and should not judge. In am the last one qualified to judge another, and so, I don’t… BuT that doesn’t mean that I don’t have an opinion on things. Judgement is for God the Almighty to dispense, not any human being.

        Thank you, Amy, for allowing me to come back.

  43. TB says:

    Very enlightening and well written, Amy. I agree that we need to be vocal and to GET OUT THE VOTE. That should be our single most important focus. The conservatives in our state will not stop and they are organized and they vote. The only way…the Only way to stop this madness is to get the progressive people in our state to VOTE!!!!!

  44. Wendy Leiva says:

    Amy, would you please send a copy of this to all of the newspapers in Rep. Fallon’s district? His constituents need to know about his behavior.

    • Laura says:

      There’s merit to this idea. Perhaps a revision (maybe a shortening) of this blog post sent to the newspapers of all the districts represented by the offending parties would be a useful way to continue your advocacy. Taking into account some of the suggestions by those who pointed out a few of your more impassioned arguments and removing frat-boy references would make this a very strong piece that could truly serve to enlighten people (voters) in those areas.

      Thank you for your efforts, time, and bravery.

  45. Emily Strong says:

    Reblogged this on The Ugly Alkonost and commented:
    Texas women should know about this.

  46. rabidhornfan says:

    I can be a remarkably rewarding process to see legislation you’ve worked on pass. It can also be devastating to be on the losing side. I’ve been on both up there. As Sarah Weddington (ironically) said, “It is unthinkable to allow complete strangers, whether individually or collectively as state legislators or others in government, to make such personal decisions for someone else.”

  47. bshugart says:

    If you want to change this situation, VOTE and get your friends and neighbors to VOTE. The Tea Party represents a minority of the voters, but they vote while others do not. Remember, if you do not vote, you just voted for the Tea Party.

  48. I frequently tell Right-Wingers: “Closing abortion clinics won’t stop abortions, just SAFE abortions.”

  49. Cindy says:

    Having been involved in this process for many years, I concur with your observations. However, the naive aspect is that bills are not usually allowed on the floor unless their outcome is already known. That’s the reason the supporters seemed so uninvolved – they knew that nothing could change the outcome at that point. Those against the bill were just getting their statements on the record as they, too, knew what the outcome would be. I’m not saying this excuses the lawmakers who are completely inattentive, but it’s just the way it works. I agree, it’s a sucky process, not to mention rude and disrespectful, and our elected officials should at least have a semblance of manners.

  50. David says:

    Just a small correction to an otherwise well-written article. “taking an issue seriously that Republicans in our state honestly could give a flying fuck about…”

    It should say “couldn’t” because they don’t care. Saying “could” implies that they care a little.

  51. Andrea McVey says:

    I am sorry. I couldn’t finish. I started crying midway through and couldn’t stop.
    This bastards… There are no words for what they deserve.

  52. Mike K says:

    MamaWeb, brilliant reply – Amy, writing a moving piece for people who already agree with you is not naïve, nor stupid, but self indulgent.
    I’m not familiar with your writing, except through this post, so I may be a bit unfair – you’re obviously impassioned, and that’s good – but not useful, in this case.
    I think one of the answers to this, and similar issues, is to stop complaining to people who already agree with you. Similar to the gun control (this is a stretch, but give me an inch or two): The gun control advocates write impassioned pieces that get noticed, quoted, re-posted and re-printed – by other gun control advocates! Guess what – you already have their vote!
    How about instead of insulting (and worse, polarizing) frat boy with yardstick references, you start seeking out the influencers who may be closer to the middle? How about instead of an inflammatory blog which will speak only to those who agree with you, you reach out to the opposition in ways that get their attention?
    It’s a lot more work to speak to the opposition instead of your supporters, but a lot more effective in the long term – even if it doesn’t feel that way when your supporters are so laudatory.
    This is a serious issue that needs real debate – but dealing with poor behavior with more poor behavior is just going to leave people more frustrated.

    • amyegentry says:

      reposting my response to MamaWeb upthread:
      Yesterday I wrote this piece because I was bubbling over with thoughts and feelings and needed to write them down somewhere, which is indeed self-indulgent, in a way. I had no idea that so many people would see it–my blog usually gets about 3-10 pageviews a day (mostly from bots, I’m afraid). I am incredibly moved that so many people connected with it, and I’m thrilled that you took the time to read it and respond. I hope that I can make a difference in lots of other ways in the future–I certainly feel more armed to do so than I did 24 hours ago

      • Mike K says:

        Certainly getting people informed and interested, (and perhaps a bit inflamed, judging from some of these posts) will help. Again, not to push my point, but your generally preaching to the choir – so you’re convincing those already convinced, but still not involved in ways that will help, judging by the results.

        And as someone else stated, while this was a poor performance by the politicians on a key issue, I think it was more the process than the issue that’s at fault . I’ve seen similar actions and responses on liberal and conservative causes – those that come in late to an issue, and not well informed on the process, generally get pretty frustrated with those that took the time to be more effective.

      • amyegentry says:

        I’ve had dozens of people tell me personally that they’re here at the Capitol because they read this piece. I assume with 50,000 views and counting, others feel the same. So I actually think that “judging by the results” as you say, I probably did contribute in a modest way – if by “the results” you mean that there are more than 2,000 protestors at the Capitol right now watching every move of this filibuster and live-tweeting it to the world.

      • amyegentry says:

        And if you think that 2,000 members of “the choir” turn out every time a woman’s right to choose is threatened in Texas, you are living in an alternate universe. I turned out to protest because of someone who inspired me (my husband). Others turned out because I inspired them. It’s not nothing, and I’m kind of annoyed by concern trolls who keep telling me it is.

  53. Margaret M says:

    Thank you for writing this, and for your thoughtful responses in the comments. I think it’s important to express our disgust with leaders who fail to lead rather than just swallow it and give up. Hearing someone as eloquent as you are talk about how disappointing politics is ironically helps me maintain hope (even as I acknowledge that politics will always be awful) because I know I’m not alone in wanting more.

    Someone upthread reminded us to vote, which is important, but I think it’s also important to acknowledge that repeated redistricting has changed the playing field so that your vote quite frankly doesn’t matter as much as it used to. Anyone who is in a position to do so should consider donating, either to PACs or directly to candidates. Like many irrationally idealistic people, I wish our politics weren’t so obviously driven by money, but since they are, money is an effective way to amplify your voice. Consider that about only 0.6% of all Americans are political donors, and the disproportionate impact they have on who is elected and what is on the agenda.

    That said, conversations like these are important, organizing and keeping your personal circle aware of political issues is important, voting is important, volunteering is important, etc., etc. For me at least, taking action is the best way to take the edge off of the horror and disgust.

  54. I couldn’t be at the Capitol yesterday but I’m glad you were, and that you wrote this piece about it.

  55. Thank you for being there and sharing the gory details about how uncaring our Republican lawmakers can be. You have inspired me to pay much closer attention to what’s happening in Austin.

  56. lori says:

    Bravo, well done. Thank you for standing up for the women of TX.

  57. Z Qiu says:

    Thank you so much for the write-up. It’s eye-opening to a new Austin transplant!

  58. Thanks for making a stand and sharing your experience.

  59. Erin says:

    I would like to express that while I disagree with this bill, it should be noted that not all Texas Republicans (or conservatives for that matter) agree with the passing of these restrictions. I am a conservative Texas woman, but also a pro-choice proponent as well. We too have hearts for doing what is right for women in this state.

    • Please, then, call your state senator and representative and let them know how you feel. This will be voted on again in the next special session Perry just called and will more than likely pass. Our legislators need to hear from all of us that oppose this.

  60. Merry says:

    I had two miscarriages, then three healthy births before experiencing a problem pregnancy in the 80′s. The trauma, sorrow, and yes – guilt of a late term abortion is something one cannot forget. I am still so thankful to the Drs and nurses who provided my care without judgement. My husband and I were grateful for Planned Parenthood. We had both supported a woman’s right to choose before. But experience lends true empathy. No one has the right nor the godlike wisdom to dictate a personal choice like birth control or abortion. To me, a politician’s stance on this issue is always a deciding factor in an election.
    This choice is a basic constitutional right. If your representative would deny this right to more than half of the constituency can he/she be trusted to protect any other rights?

  61. Jennie says:

    Thank you, Amy. Very eloquently written and really strikes a chord with so many of us.

  62. […] you are really calling them stupid. As blogger Amy Gentry poignantly said recently, “I’m naive, not stupid. There’s a difference.” …  Women know what naive means; they also know what stupid means, and you’re calling […]

  63. Amy from Virginia says:

    From one Amy to another, keep up the fight. This is a great piece, you should be proud. And good for you for putting on the burnt orange and being there in person. We are fighting the same brand of idiocy here in Virginia.

  64. Jack Elliott says:

    I have said for years, if I were King, men wouldn’t even be allowed to have an opinion on Abortion, much less any power over it! It’s not a man’s issue and so men have no business in it. Because if it were possible for men to become pregnant, there would today be as many on-demand abortion booths on every street corner as there were phone booths in 1965.

  65. AD says:

    Very inspiring …. keep fighting Amy

  66. Well done, Amy. Shared on FB along with some other United Methodist ministers.

  67. Melanie Dunn says:

    Great story and it made me want to cry. The bullying interpretation is dead on; I’ll have to remember it for the next time I’m faced with bullying. This bill seems deeply unjust and a political stunt at the expense of women. Abortion is the “last choice” option and most women support it in this light. It is hard to be human. Accidents and mistakes happen. Let’s have compassion for one another and not let political hacks polarize us; they’re depending on our ignorance. As for you: Keep standing up. Remember “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Who wrote it? Alexander Hamilton. You are in good company. Good luck.

  68. […] Texas, HB60 (an onerous anti-choice bill) was brought to the House via a special session which would allow the Republicans […]

  69. […] go into great depth on the topics of the bills, but you can read a great post about them here.  And this is a related post I wrote back in 2008, before I became a mother.  Later that year, […]

  70. Thank you for being a witness for those of us who weren’t there.

  71. Chris says:

    This was a powerful post. Please consider revising the phrasing so that it does not sound like there is more sexual assault and trauma in impoverished communities, thnx.

    • May says:

      Chris, I’m genuinely intrigued (I’m not from the USA, although actually I don’t think I’d know the statistics for the UK either) – do you have any statistical evidence to show that this isn’t the case? I’d also be interested in seeing if Amy has any evidence that it is, of course, but your comment sounds as though you know that it isn’t.

  72. […] let you read about SB5 and the sneakiness behind the whole process on your own. Make your own opinion. You’re entitled to […]

  73. michelle w. says:

    Reblogged this on King of States! and commented:

    I could write a post about the nonsense in Texas, but Amy already wrote this one. Why re-invent the wheel? You should go read it.

  74. Well-written and enlightening. Whatever their stance on a bill, as an elected representative, it should be that of paying attention and being respectful. What a bunch of jerkoffs!

  75. justgngr says:

    a great post indeed! Surely you must have been proud of the Democratic Senators on Tuesday night who effectively killed SB5. You should be extremely proud of Senator Davis, and her colleagues Senators Van de Putte, Watson, and West. You should be proud of the civil disobedience displayed in the Texas Capitol last night by many who wore orange shirts like you did. People who effectively ending the Senate session as screams, shouts and chants lasted for over nearly 15 minutes, the “people’s filibuster”.

    But more importantly, use your pride, your motivation, and perhaps even your naivete to galvanize the vote. The country learned last night that Texans care about women and womens’ rights. Now it’s time to show the politicians of the Texas House and the Texas Senate that Texans care about women and women’s rights. It’s time to show our politicians that their shenanigans will not be tolerated, whether they be liberal, conservative, or independent. EVERY Texan should be voting in the next election. You can call it naive, and naive it might be, but the way I see it, there’s no harm in trying.

  76. Thank you! You captured the tone and reality of the good-ole boys of Texas and set the stage for the way in which people who care must recreate what we know about integrity, dignity and responsibility.

  77. Kylie says:

    It’s pretty stunning how often legislators are really just messing around on the job. I’ve seen behavior like that too. Good for you for putting on that orange shirt and being a witness to it all.

  78. Amy, I was also struck by the carefree actions, private conversations and general dating around on the floor, and was yelling at my computer, why did they not act like this was important, etc WTF was the matter with them.

  79. jamie lewis says:

    you’ve thrilled me. you have. i was 21 when roe v wade happened. yet pretty unengaged in politics until ann richards thrilled me and then broke my heart[lost]. your heart and clear mind are needed in this fight. welcome!

  80. It’s hard not to feel defeated by this. How can reason find a place with these attitudes?

  81. […] leave it to the professionals to refresh us on what happened, and let’s leave it to a fellow writer, also named Amy, who also lives in Austin (hello, spirit animal) to tell us firsthand of the shenanigans leading up to it. (Fun fact: if you […]

  82. […] come together, watching them take action. I urge you to read this Amy Gentry’s piece over at The Oeditrix about maintaining hope in the face of adversity (read: republicans). It might seem impossible, but […]

  83. deva Kellam says:

    This is exactly what people need to hear. I have one tiny criticism. Being in a fraternity has nothing to do with being a sexist pig. Not that I haven’t met sexist Frat guys, but I’ve met just as many non-sexists.

  84. […] why Wendy Davis’ filibuster was so inspiring to me and so many of my allies. Here was a woman literally standing up against these men that have made life so hard for so many […]

  85. The dream I doggedly hold is for fanatical religious belief and its influence to be completely extricated from politics and law in my lifetime. To see human beings truly treated equally and the definitions of that treatment crafted by living people instead of religious texts would be the ultimate rush. (A lot of what we call science is fanatical and belief-based, too, though, so figure THAT one out.) Good luck to us all.

  86. This is very well-written. The Sylvester Turner bit sticks in my mind… flip the sides of the aisle and this is similar to the Affordable Care Act, that was voted on in the 11th hour, on Christmas Eve… without anyone reading it. Politics is a nasty business.

    • We just THINK we have rights, choice, a Constitution. Really, apparently, we are all puppets to corporate/political interests whose only interests are building their personal power and wealth. It is such a shame that we push what a wonderful country we are, when the truth is so, so far from that.

  87. Why does a man have a right to decide? I do not have a right, or a desire to decide his choice(s).

  88. Katie says:

    Being a woman and a democrat in Texas is a bit of a joke. But times, they are changing. And those idiot Rebublicans will see when they are booted out come Election Day.

  89. […] Click here for: I’m Naive, Not Stupid. There’s a Difference.. […]

  90. How we dare to call our country a “developed” one I will never understand when till this day we are constantly imposing our underdeveloped ideas and philosophies on other people, at the end of the day only looking out for our own asses. Combine bills like this with those making it more difficult for minorities and the poor to vote, allowing employers to deny their employees birth control for religious reasons, and one cutting off a family’s welfare benefits if a child does not do well in school, and I can’t help but wonder if society at large has flat out lost their minds.

    Whatever you do, keep being naive, because it is people like you and those other women who protested, who are the cogs in the wheels that keep our society afloat. Know in your heart of hearts that raising your voice and your experiences will help to make a change…and one day in the future, things will absolutely change. They must.

  91. maryhelenc says:

    I always say that I am pro-choice, on the level that I personally, would never consider abortion as an option, unless the fetus was not viable and a D&C was required. However, I also respect that this is my choice..for ME. Other women may not share my choice, and they need to have options, so I will always respect the need for abortion clinics, so that women don’t end up going to back alley butcher shops.

    However, like you said, this was a sham. I’m glad that it was thrown out and kudos to those who cared enough to fight for women’s rights.

  92. I’m upset at the behavior of certain pro-lifers as well. It just kills me. But I think that, like anti-gay supporters, they’re losing their momentum as more women like Wendy Davis step forward. With time, light and reason will be victorious over fear and ideology.

  93. …good God. I had no idea. The conduct of those men really is disgusting. And this is coming from a pro-lifer.

    Frankly, I believe that what you stand for is morally wrong, but it still brings me shame that those who are supposed to be on the side of what I believe in treat you and your fellows with such callow disrespect.

  94. Ria says:

    Sadly, I doubt the Democrats care much more when the tables are turned. That may not happen often here in Texas, but four years in Washington taught me that it’s all a big joke to our elected officials; it matters not on which side of the aisle they sit.

    Thanks for calling out the childless behavior you saw. And for staying optimistic. And while I expect I disagree with your views on abortion, I’m glad you went and tried to make your voice heard. When we stop believing we have a voice, we lose it.

  95. Hugh Brown says:

    Preaching to the choir is productive if it gets the choir off their butts.

  96. Ashana M says:

    Thank you for being naive for us. I appreciate it.

  97. Perhaps it is better to be naive than to stop trying.

  98. I’ve grown skeptical of the pro-choice position that I was once a part of. I wouldn’t say I’m pro-life by any means, but I think there needs to be a more thorough scientific analysis of what exactly constitutes a human life (is it when the fetus gains a level of consciousness? or can feel pain? etc.). My opposition to the blindly pro-choice movement now is that they are too eager to be on the side of the feminists and claim it as an issue of women’s rights. Women’s rights I’m all for, and I wouldn’t argue that abortion should be illegal from the point of conception, or from a few weeks after. But the question is how many weeks? It would seem that the current 24 week period is too long. It might be too short perhaps, but that is the point of science: to find the answers.

    If, hypothetically, it was to be scientifically established that the fetus can feel pain and is conscious and should be considered a “human being” within X number of weeks, then it is in the interests of human morality to put aside the rights and the convenience of the mother to protect defenseless human life is it not?

    The pro-choice movement’s apathy towards and ignorance of the science of fetal development and the need for more data is appalling to me now. I’m ashamed to have blindly supported a pro-choice movement for so long.

    • amyegentry says:

      Contrary to your statement, there has been extensive research on fetal pain, much of which was painstakingly cited by Sen. Wendy Davis in her filibuster on Tuesday. I expect most did not see this part on the live-stream because it happened earlier in the day, when fewer were watching. Here is an excellent resource for research on fetal pain – please note the long list of links to scientific studies. Thank you for commenting.
      http://www.ansirh.org/research/late-abortion/fetal-pain.php

  99. Haters gonna hate…Most people seem to have strong opinions on this issue. Don’t let them control what you write. You’ve shown great insight and objectivity in this piece. Please keep keeping us informed!

  100. nod2013 says:

    Thank you for highlighting the state of politics that exist anywhere in the world today. I feel amazed by your courage, horrified at the state of those in control of national affairs and inspired to deepen my committment to causes that I truly believe in.

  101. Thanks for this inside view of the clubhouse – and thank you for staying up all night, and for writing this fine piece of outrage. Keep fighting the good fight!

  102. Hi there, I’m not in Texas (or the States at all!) but here in Ireland we have a similar Abortion Fight going on. Pro-choice vs. The government’s bill of suicide-risk only abortive permission. Your article really appealed to me, mostly because of the ‘naive’ sentiment. Socially, people who are not in the forefront or even the wings are deemed as uneducated and inexperienced enough to understand the enormity of the grinding wheels of change. Unfortunately, we are silenced, whom this issue actually pertains to because there is a distinct majority of men in our government. Men and Catholics and people who don’t think individuals have the right to decide for themselves. (We currently have to go to England for terminations.)
    Rambling, sorry!
    This took me a while to get to, but would you mind if I sent this post to a few members of my government? We have some very active female rights campaigners who, I think, would really appreciate your point of view, which, I have to say, is the most concise viewpoint of the Abortion Issue in America I have read in the last 3 weeks.
    Thank you so much for your time!!
    Your New Follower!
    Aishling In Eire.

  103. zoesays says:

    This is a really important topic and I’m so glad you were Freshly Pressed for writing it. Thank you.

  104. bernasvibe says:

    @ We are naive enough to believe that our presence mattered, that it filled the House Dems with spirit and pride and motivation to do the most thankless work imaginable on the House floor: taking an issue seriously that Republicans in our state honestly could give a flying fuck about, so long as they get reelected…..>>>Yes, YES, yes YOUR being there DID and is making a difference!! How so? Because in writing this write, before millions!, you’ve spread the word..The word that MANY of us know…You even happened to take an actual picture of it as proof..Genius! Repugnants are not standing in full support of the VERY people who elected them into office..Lawd, I could go on & on & ON about the particulars & running down the list. IF I had time for it it would take ; allllll night to pen such a list. From the clown who said not-so-long ago; that a woman’s body could PREVENT rape..WtF? Even a toddler knows that isn’t the case..Are these grown men or little boys in suits? Or do they think WE are just so bogged down with life; that we’re not paying attention? Either way…OUR VOTE matters. Just as your being there to witness this mattered. And together? United ALL of us do matter..One voice linked up to millions in unity; matters. I’m about sick and tyeeeed of MEN having the chance to vote on what I can or can not do with MY body. With MY life. Truth be told I’m nearing the status of not being able to have a baby anymore; BUT even so I still stand up for the women that can. IF men could have babies??!? They’d have ALL been paying attention. There would BE massive longggg debates. And sure as I’m sitting here they’d not be so fast to decide to take away rights..I guess I’m angry! Angry that your write gives me confirmation of what I already felt in my heart of hearts..These clowns do NOT care about anything except being voted back INto office…They’ll lie, cheat, beg and borrow to get those votes…Pfft and life long EXCELLENT benefits after their term..That stinks . And it is wrong. And it impacts millions..No cazillions! I hope and pray that when folks read your piece; they’ll get angry also. Angry enough to make it to the voting polls and NOT vote these folks back into office. Angry enough to do their due diligence and RESEARCH the past efforts or lack of; of the folks they vote for. Angry enough to write , write, call, or send a message in a bottle; to your congressman/representatives and send them your opinion/complaints/concerns. IT is their JOB to serve the people they represent. And no different than you & I have to do our jobs that we hold; they should rightfully have to do theirs…Exclamation point. Period. Again thank you for attending. Thank you for writing this piece..Now that you know what you know; you have just shared it with millions. That , I feel, is what we all should be doing. Congrats!

  105. mirrorgirl says:

    I will never fail to be impressed by intelligent people like yourself, knowledge and sure about your own moral code, taking bullshit for what it is. When something is so obviously wrong like what you write about in Texas, it’s easy to be shocked at how far people can come, and how high up in the system they can get, when they show such a lack of emphaty. I am also proud over women who speak for hours, and I love the ‘nativity’ of it. A lot of famous authors and scientists had to fight against people trying to put them down, even if that cost them career and family. Without people who fight for the rights of others, we would really be in a mess today, and we already are in many ways. Maybe it’s not to late? I heard a Ted-talk the other day, that I think fits this post :

    Jackson Katz: Violence against women—it’s a men’s world
    http://itunes.com/apps/tedconferences/ted
    Really recommend it!

    Thanks for protesting for this cause, people need to have their free will – and that must count for every one of us, even young girls who barely have learnt to use mascara. It’s very easy to push the button of an iPhone while joking in your expensive suit, much harder to decide to take away a baby you might love had it not been for your poverty.

  106. The only way to us to know what happens in the halls of government is to have witnesses in those rooms, listening and watching and conveying the nuances to the rest of us.

    I am a journalist and, on paper, that’s our job. But so much of traditional journalism is so dry and constrained. Your blog post gave me by far the most powerful images and emotion from that event — and thank you for making the time to go and to share it with us. (I am in NY.)

    I know how scary and odd it can feel to finally stand up (or sit down!) and take political action. I testified to the NY City Council about low-wage labor and the urgent need for a living-wage law, (the subject of my last book, Malled). It was shocking, tiring and deeply instructive to watch the mayor’s staffers in their $5,000 suits dominating the floor, (we were limited to three minutes each.) I waited six hours to speak, by then given only one minute to make my case…along with the ministers of inner-city low-income parishes.

    What a stunning experience to see how powerless and voiceless many of us are.

  107. abbbz says:

    Reblogged this on The left side and commented:
    I am so glad to have read this and am proud to share it.

  108. Reblogged this on writingscared2013 and commented:
    Why we need abortion

  109. midnitechef says:

    Keep choice alive!!! If you are going to the gathering on Monday, here is the FB event https://www.facebook.com/events/1393039450908378/

  110. What are the RECALL regulations in Texas? I used to live there, and was never happier than the day I left. There are good people there, like you, but everyone I personally knew? They belonged living in caves and hunting their food with clubs. And the women just went along with it……. I thought I as going to KILL MYSELF before I got away from there!

  111. […] A women who writes brilliantly about how to think for yourself and fight for what others say is “naive”: http://theoeditrix.com/2013/06/24/im-naive-not-stupid-theres-a-difference/ […]

  112. Just like the only difference between a brown-noser and a shit-head is depth perception. =)
    Congrats on being freshly pressed!

    • pattibailey7 says:

      beautifully put!! No one could have said it any better Midwestern Plant Girl. It’s sad but true. If only that depth perception could be corrected with some “politically correct glasses” and see that a woman’s health is the main issue… and let medical Dr.’s be able to do what needs to be done to protect mother/daughters’ when the needs arise.. If someone is “opposed to abortion” -my response is “THEN DON’T YOU GET ONE!!”- THE CHOICE SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN FROM THOSE THAT MAY ACTUALLY NEED ONE….. and MEDICINE SHOULD BE AVAILABLE AND SAFE FOR THOSE THAT choose TO HAVE ONE. we don’t need to go back to the days of torture and unsafe back alley abortion clinics.. that is criminal in my eyes.. :(

  113. I had my husband read your article too and we both agree that it’s quite ironic that you write about the laziness of our leaders but people end up arguing about the the bill. Instead of getting angry with the laziness people simply take sides on the issue. In response to your article, I feel it’s time that our government was afraid of the people not the other way around. I don’t agree or disagree completely with the issues discussed concerning the bill, I do however expect our elected officials to give a shit.

  114. Well said…I was watching in shock and horror here in Quebec…we struggled for years to have this choice; to be pro-choice does not mean pro abortion…that is very personal. Who am I to judge and tell women what to do with their bodies? No one should! Watching this scared me because our equivalent of extreme thinking like “some” Republicans is like our Conservative government and PM Harper scares many of us more liberal minded people. WI

  115. […] A women who writes brilliantly about how to think for yourself and fight for what others say is “naïve”: http://theoeditrix.com/2013/06/24/im-naive-not-stupid-theres-a-difference/ […]

  116. Thank you am interesting read, thanks for sharing. Everybody deserves to choose and without it we are nothing but puppets.

  117. ricctp6 says:

    You are amazing and I love you. I think it is incredibly primitive that we even have to have this argument (just as I think it is primitive that we still don’t have the same rights for everyone but that’s a different fight). People forget that being equal does NOT mean being the same. If you don’t want to have an abortion on religious or moral grounds, than don’t. But that doesn’t give you the right to dictate everyone else’s choices. Not only should women not have to fight back, they shouldn’t have to feel so ashamed. Abortion is a common and safe procedure, and without legal abortion, more women would get hurt than be helped.

    Thank you for fighting for those who cannot (sometimes) fight, themselves.

  118. silverkis says:

    I find it ironic that the Republican stance on gun control – each man’s right to defend himself – does not extend to a woman’s right to defend her own body.

  119. Soul Walker says:

    I have known more politicians and people in power than I care to remember and almost everyone of them acted the way you describe the republicans you saw that night– Republicans, Democrats, and even those in minority groups if they stayed in power long enough. It does seem upsetting to watch politics in action… I am a philosopher and I have met very few people from any station in life who could stomach real debate. Sure, they often have one or two issues that they are invested in– but when someone else’s issue comes up for discussion they often do not want to even listen, let alone think about it. I hope that you will keep your hope and give those you disagree with (or even hate) the same consideration that those elected assholes did not give you and yours that night.

  120. Soul Walker says:

    Also, I love the title of this post and am glad you were freshly pressed.

  121. dragonmommie says:

    I shouldn’t be here. I want to say that I am totally against abortion and won’t defend my views here. What I want to express to you is my appreciation for your post. I didn’t get the impression of hate from you, but serious and important questions on the process and on how the members of the Capital conduct themselves. No, I did not read a lot of comments after this post because I just don’t want to deal. See, when I was pregnant, my baby was not growing as expected and was told that I should consider abortion as an option… should it get to that. Well, I was already over 7 months along. There was no way we were going to do that. It upset me very, very much and that just piled more stress onto the stress I already was going through. My baby is now eight years old and thriving… a blessing to us and our family. I can’t stand to think back and going through the abortion route. So people please don’t judge me for having a radically different view on the subject than most or all of you here. God Bless.

    • amyegentry says:

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience here. It shows a lot of trust and respect. I hope you’ll keep reading and thinking about this issue, and keep making your voice heard. Women on all sides need to share their stories.

  122. This is such a tricky topic and I’m thankful that I was never put in a position where I had to consider it with a girlfriend or my wife, etc. As a dad to a little girl, I know that I would want the option available to her should she need/want to make the choice that an abortion is best. I could never envision someday forcing her to carry a baby to term against her will. It’s ludicrous and I’m her father. That these legislators think they can make that decision for grown women is even more ridiculous. I would say that my beef with the whole thing comes with the timing. I’m no doctor or scientist, but I think at some point in a pregnancy, we have to either say no, it’s too late, or make sure that whatever method we’re using is painless to the fetus. There are always exceptions, and I’d respect those instances where the lateness couldn’t be helped. The bigger picture for me about this post is that the state legislators you describe here are typical of all state reps. They are more about money and their own agendas than they are about what their constituents really want or need. I’m always glad to see people taking an interest in local politics. If more folks were in tune with how it really works, this would be a better run country overall. Sorry to ramble, but thanks for you post.

  123. donnadiva says:

    “I will say it again: There is room for a real, legitimate debate about the specific terms and restrictions surrounding abortion.”

    Why not emulate Canada, where (in most provinces) there are no criminal penalties for abortion? They have a lower overall abortion rate and a slightly lower late term rate. Because of pregnancy complications and fetal abnormalities the rate of a little over 1% of abortions at 20 weeks + is fairly constant in countries where abortion is legal.

    There doesn’t need to be a debate about it. The idea that there does, even among compassionate, intelligent people like yourself speaks the pervasiveness of anti-choice rhetoric in our country.

  124. Jennifer says:

    So. Well. Written. Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your words.

  125. Thank you! I’m in tears.

  126. odiousghost says:

    Really well written! Thanks!!!

  127. nearlynormalized says:

    I’m feeling very harsh at this moment…My response is DUMB DICK, again wanting to put their maleness in my life. ESAD to all the Rick Perry’s of the State of Texas. Thank you!.

  128. Erik Randall says:

    Voter discrimination and gutting a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body. Everything is bigger in Texas.

  129. tinypaperairplane says:

    Beautifully written!
    I am so at sea when it comes to political subjects that I often just shut up and sit there feeling helpless. I hate that. I applaud you for taking a stand.

  130. drjgelb says:

    Here in Australia, in the State of Victoria, abortion has been off the hot topic list for decades and the public are in no doubt that Women are entitled to choose whether or not to terminate pregnancy. All sides of politics agreed long ago not to continue politicising abortion and rules are confined to limiting late-term abortion to medically critical cases.

    Prostitution was legalised and regulated 20yrs ago, virtually eliminating street prostitution by issuing permits for legal brothels if they complied with location, health and probity regulations. No more than two people can offer sexual services from home without requiring more than a registration certificate. Police don’t waste their resources on a fruitless quest to catch people paying for or providing sex. Monthly health checks are mandatory and organised crime no longer has a foothold in this now legitimate industry.

    We’re now debating decriminalising cannabis and perhaps other drugs, because it’s very clear that prohibiting most normal or common aspects of human behaviour does nothing but harm and actually increases the risks to public order and safety. In Victoria we’ve reduced smoking prevalence from 54% of the adult population, to 18% in 15yrs, by slow and sensible regulation that enjoyed community support because it was achieved with consultation & consensus.

    Why is America so in love with prohibition, so intent on controlling the lives of its citizens? Why do successive American administrations have so little trust in the people that they ignore the wishes of the majority and arrogantly assume they know what’s best? Please explain why our two cultures, so similar in so many ways, differ so much in this arena.

    • herder says:

      It’s because Americans think they know best. Always. Because of this self-bias, there tends to be a lot of broken shit here. Damn it I’m moving to Australia.

  131. drjgelb says:

    ps. And everyone agrees that more guns = more gun deaths! America proves it every year! So we have very strict gun laws and only 280 homicides per year in the entire continent, of which four or five are handgun related. Very few guns & no one complains! No massacres in 20yrs…..it’s a no brainer!

  132. Bravo for bring not afraid to fight! We as women needs these rights, who are they to decide what is done with my body!! Thank YOU for fighting for my rights :)

  133. Thank you for Standing for Our rights. As a Texan away from home, I’ve been so impressed with women fighting our fight. Thank you so much for being part of the battle.

  134. […] A women who writes brilliantly about how to think for yourself and fight for what others say is “naïve”: http://theoeditrix.com/2013/06/24/im-naive-not-stupid-theres-a-difference/ […]

  135. evanjlittle says:

    Really good perspective, thanks for writing!

  136. […] An eye-opening recount of the recent anti-choice legislation hearing in Texas from a pro-choice supporter: […]

  137. pattibailey7 says:

    You are amazing. I love this article – I had to share your link on Facebook(publicly-I hope you don’t mind). I wish you a wealth of followers and success on this journey… GO YOU! *hugs!

  138. pattibailey7 says:

    *I need to add-as an RN- I feel the *Right to choose should always be an OPTION- whether one does or doesn’t agree with abortion is A RIGHT TO CHOOSE FOR OR AGAINST- NO GOVERNMENT SHOULD TAKE THAT CHOICE AWAY- it limits DRS to give WOMEN GOOD SOUND MEDICAL ATTENTION.. in that respect my personal opinion on abortion should NOT MATTER… ITS A WOMENS choice ON HER BODY- A DR should ALWAYS BE able to GIVE MEDICAL attention SAFELY – regardless of WHAT SOME HAVE BELIEFS IN.. choice IS WHAT matters in a woman’s SAFE HEALTH CARE.. .. I just think that this POINT IS NECESSARY when they are dealing with **GOVERNMENT INTERFERING IN A WOMANS HEALTH ISSUES…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,938 other followers

%d bloggers like this: