Speaking to MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards summed up a busy day at the Texas Capitol with a simple message: this is far from over.
“Today was an extraordinary day here, Lawrence,” Richards said. “The legislature came back, of course Gov. Perry is trying to push through these bills that are so extreme that he couldn’t get them done in a regular session. Obviously, [Gov. Rick Perry] couldn’t get them done in the last special session, so he’s brought the legislature back one more time again to try to cram them through, and 5,000 people were here waiting.”
Republicans failed to pass a set of abortion restrictions in the Texas legislature’s normal session because it would have required two-thirds of the senators to bring it to a vote. Special session rules scale that requirement back to a simple majority, which Republicans hold by a wide margin.
The protest that started early in the morning Monday stretched on for hours throughout the heat of the day and even into the night, as at least 3,000 gathered after 8 p.m. to march from the Capitol down Congress Avenue, then to the governor’s mansion.
“It’s been the most extraordinary mobilization that I can remember ever in the state of Texas,” Richards told O’Donnell. “These bills are so extreme and unpopular. Folks will be back at the legislature tomorrow to testify at the hearing in the House against these bills.”
She added a bit more detail about the situation in Texas later in the segment, saying: “Look, the reason you’re seeing the outpouring of opposition, by men and women, Republicans and Democrats, is that Gov. Perry already shut down more than 60 health centers that provided birth control and cancer screenings in the state of Texas in the last couple of years. Now this new set of bills will shut down dozens more, and people are saying enough is enough.”
Lawrence followed Richards’ words with an excerpt from Sen. Wendy Davis’s (D) speech from the Texas Capitol. “I think that there are certainly some members across the aisle that are giving this a second thought,” Davis said. “The reaction that they’re seeing — the very organic reaction that they are seeing from across the state of Texas, I think it’s giving some people pause, as it should.”
This video is from “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell,” aired Monday, July 1, 2013.