Texas lawmaker brings knitting needle, coat hangers, turpentine to abortion debate

By David Edwards
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 13:33 EDT
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Texas state Rep. Senfronia Thompson (NBC News)
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State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D) brought a knitting needle, a coat hanger, a feather and turpentine to an abortion debate in the Texas Legislature on Tuesday to make a point about an exception for rape and incest.

During a special session called after state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) and other Texas Democrats temporarily blocked a proposed 20-week abortion ban, Thompson explained that she was offering the amendment with exceptions for rape and incest because it may take some women longer to deal with the trauma.

“You know what? When a person is raped, a woman is raped, they don’t go and see whether or not it’s a Republican woman or a Democratic woman or an independent woman, the rapist just rapes a woman,” she said. “And I don’t want to force them to have to use a coat hanger [in a] back alley or use a knitting needle or use a feather or take turpentine. I want to make sure that the law allows them that option.”

“I don’t believe that there’s a pro-incest person in this chamber and I don’t believe that there’s a pro-rapist person in this chamber, and I don’t believe they want to let young girls be raped by their stepfathers, their fathers or their uncles. I don’t believe that. Nor do I believe that they would want their constituents to resort to a knitting needle, a feather, turpentine or a coat hanger in the back alleys, where there are illegal abortions performed. And then we have death on our hands.”

State Rep. Ron Simmons (R) countered that he wanted his “constituents — right now and future — to have the best chance for life.”

“Don’t you also want them to have the best chance to have a choice?” she replied. “Because even God gives us a choice to serve him or not to serve him. There’s a choice.”

In the end, the House voted to table Thompson’s amendment in a 90 to 54 vote.

Watch this video from WRAL, broadcast July 9, 2013.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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