Texas activist removed from abortion hearing after calling out anti-choice lawmakers

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      The battle over women's reproductive rights has reached a fever pitch in Texas. And women are on the losing side.

      First, some context: on June 25, Democratic senator Wendy Davis filibustered for over 10 hours against Senate Bill 5, a set of harsh anti-abortion measures proposed by the state's Senate. 

      Thanks to Davis, the legislature was unable to vote on the measures before midnight on June 25.

      However, Governor Rick Perry subsequently ignored the successful filibuster and called a special session of the legislature to sit between July 1 and 30, allowing Texas politicians to try once more to curtail women's rights.

      The omnibus bill would bring in some of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the United States, including banning any abortion after 20 weeks, restricting access to abortion-enducing medication, requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion facility, and mandating that all abortion facilities be licensed as ambulatory surgical centres. These restrictions would require almost all of Texas's 42 current abortion clinics to close.

      Democratic representatives, along with sole Republican dissenter Sarah Davis, proposed over two dozen amendments to the bill; all were rejected by the Republicans.

      This brings us to this week and the video above.

      On Monday (July 8), activist Sarah Slamen sat down to speak against the bill, now known as House Bill 2, in front of the Senate's Health and Human Services committee.

      After thanking the committee for its "bad information" and "hateful statements", she proceeded to critique the credentials of the House members, starting with Republican senator Donna Campbell, an ophthalmologist who Slamen said was not an authority on women's reproductive health. 

      About a minute and a half into her remarks, Slamen was removed from the proceedings by four Texas state troopers.

      "This is a farce. The Texas legislature is a bunch of liars who hate women," Slamen shouted as she was taken out of the room.

      (The next speaker up? A gray-haired white man.)

      In a subsequent interview with Salon, Slamen said she was attempting to give "an honest roundup of what this panel had been and who they really were."

      Despite massive opposition from pro-choice activists across the state, the House voted 96 to 49 in favour of giving final approval to HB 2 on Wednesday.

      The bill will now be sent to the Texas Senate, where there is little chance of it being defeated.

      Note to self: never move to Texas.