Maddow: Wisconsin and Texas abortion law protests show GOP has gone too far

By David Ferguson
Saturday, June 22, 2013 14:34 EDT
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Friday night on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow said the end of the week this week has brought on a flurry of “Ripley’s Believe it or Not politics,” from Republican legislators, but that a 700-person protest in Austin, Texas is a sign that the GOP has overreached.

Maddow began the segment by announcing that the Republican governor of Iowa has made himself the sole arbiter of whether women on Medicaid will be allowed to have abortions.

In Wisconsin, women who have abortions will potentially be forced to undergo medically unnecessary ultrasounds, usually trans-vaginally, whether their doctors want to perform them or not. The bill is sitting on Gov. Scott Walker (R)’s desk waiting to be signed.

Protesters stormed the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin Friday, disrupting the legislative session in an effort to keep the draconian bill, which defunds Planned Parenthood and shuts down many of the remaining abortion clinics in the state.

Meanwhile in Texas, more than 700 protesters showed up at the state legislature in Austin to carry out a “people’s filibuster” on a new Republican anti-abortion omnibus bill. The crowd remained “semi-barricaded” in the state house until 3:45 a.m. to protest the bill, which criminalizes all abortions after 20 weeks, closes all but five of the state’s clinics that provide abortions and defunds Planned Parenthood.

People on the web began to send pizza and coffee orders to the protesters as word spread about the filibuster, which gained media traction and managed to make itself know in spite of the fact that Thursday night was game seven of the NBA Finals, featuring the San Antonio Spurs.

“Texas is awake, even at odd hours right now, and they seem to be unsettled by what the legislature is trying to do,” said Maddow.

She welcomed Democratic Texas state house Rep. Jessica Farrar, who said that the fate of the omnibus bill remains in doubt. Farrar said of the protest, “It was quite surprising. I don’t think we’ve ever seen that many people show up for anything, and to stay…It was astonishing.”

Farrar stated she’s glad the protesters came. “I think these legislators need to look at these men and women in the face when they basically strip away a basic constitutional right,” she said.

The fate of the Texas omnibus bill is still uncertain. The committee is set to reconvene and vote on the bill on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and another citizens’ filibuster is planned.

Watch the video, embedded via MSNBC, below:

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David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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