Of fetuses and motorcycles


The hot season of 2013 is shaping up into the Summer of GOP Sneakers. First, there was the repeated attempts to shut down Wendy Davis's filibuster of the Texas lege. Any excuse would do to rack up the "three strikes" needed to stop her from continuing her speech: dinging her for getting help adjusting her back brace, and claiming that a discussion of mandatory ultrasound testing was not germane to her discussion of the bill at hand. Not happy to stop Wendy from Speaking, the Republicans actually faked the time of the vote on the bill to make it seem like the vote happened by the midnight deadline.

Just last week, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker waited until the middle of a holiday weekend to sign a bill restricting abortion:
Wisconsin’s new law requires doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. A separate provision of the new law mandates ultrasounds, transvaginal or abdominal, for all women seeking abortions. 
The latest Republican legislative legerdemain happened in North Carolina, whose worthy representatives snuck anti-abortion legislation into a TWO bills:
Last week, just hours before the North Carolina Legislature recessed for a long holiday weekend, state Republicans inserted sweeping abortion restrictions into an “anti-Shariah Law” bill. The underhanded tactic was criticized by Democrats and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who denounced the sneaky move and threatened to veto the bill unless significant changes were made.
On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers did it again, this time injecting language to severely restrict abortion into a completely unrelated measure — a motorcycle safety law — without public notice.
Worse still, the new language for the motorcycle bill was not even publicly announced:
Melissa Reed of Planned Parenthood Health Systems said in a statement. “Once again there was no public notice that this bill would be heard. The public and even many legislators on the committee only learned this was a possibility at 9:57 a.m. — three minutes before the committee was to meet — when a political reporter was tipped off and posted it on Twitter. This is outrageous and not how the people’s business should be conducted.”
A question, if I may.

If abortion is such a bad thing, and the people want to end it so badly, then why do Republicans have to resort to sneaking language into bills? What's wrong with allowing debate on the issue? Why not legislate the full light of day? Why not

The answer is likely that public support is not a strong as they think, even in the Bible Belt. The reps are likely terrified that a) women will see them fiddling with their ovaries once again, b) that both sides of the issues might get public coverage and c) that the legislators' efforts will be seen as being more about pushing their own religious views than in seeking the safety, welfare and participation of their citizens.

I look forward to the day that the grown-ups get back into the state houses.