Once again, the abortion debate in the Texas House shows us a clear contrast between Democrats and Republicans. On the one hand, you have Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo, give a thoughtful, reflective speech on abortion and the bill that the House was considering, HB-2. On the other hand, you have Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, reinforcing the hypocrisy that has come to define both her and Texas Democrats.
The headline from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal caught my attention this morning: Smithee speech on abortion bill may have swayed votes.
Every now and then a state legislator makes a speech that defines his or her session.
For Rep. John Smithee, it was Tuesday night when emotions were running high on the abortion issue in the Republican-dominated Texas House of Representatives.
Smithee, R-Amarillo, who seldom speaks long on the House floor, gave a heartfelt speech to explain why he thinks abortion is wrong and the Legislature should pass House Bill 2, which would outlaw aborting pregnancies of 20 weeks or longer.
“By 12 or 13 weeks that baby, that little girl or boy, has developed fingernails, can suck its thumb and can be coiled,” Smithee began, explaining how a child in the mother’s womb rapidly develops each week during the nine-month pregnancy.
“By 20 weeks — and that’s what we are talking about in this bill — that baby is 8 to 10 inches long, and that’s what makes this procedure so difficult,” he said.
“It is not unusual to see the legs come out, the arms come out,” Smithee said. “I don’t want to talk about it, I am not enjoying this discussion and I know you don’t either, but what we are talking about in this bill is what we are here for: this piece of little baby, flesh by flesh.
“It is one of the most barbaric, brutal and painful exercises that one man puts on another,” he added. “We would never do that to another human being. We wouldn’t that to a terrorist.
“What has led us to this point where we have human-on-human violence, the most barbaric? This is what this about: How can we defend this practice?”
It is rare indeed for a floor speech to impact a vote in the Texas Legislature. So rare that I searched the archives, found the speech, and captured it so that we could all watch it. If you wish to watch it from the archives, go to the 10 hour, 6 minute mark.
It is an effective speech but the power to change votes comes not from what is said, but from who is saying it and how he says it. The who being a long time representative that has tremendous respect from his colleagues. The how being that he doesn’t grandstand and bring out props to garner attention – he simply speaks from the heart about what he learned from testimony given during the hearings about the bill.
On the other hand, you have Rep. Farrar, whose latest foray into pushing late term abortions was arguing with an OB/GYN doctor who didn’t think fetuses with non-lethal conditions should be aborted after 20 weeks. Rep. Farrar has a long history of supporting late term and partial birth abortions. If you’ll recall, she was also the host of the ghastly Christmas Holiday Party held at one of the largest abortion clinics in the world. She is quoted in the Smithee article:
However, opponents of the bill said though they don’t doubt Smithee’s sincerity, legislators must consider bills based on facts and merits, not on emotions.
“When he made the description of how the fetus is dismembered, he became quite emotional,” said Rep. Jessica Farrar, a leading opponent of HB2. “We shouldn’t be making laws based on emotional arguments.”
How do you even respond to that? Farrar and the Democrats have used nothing but emotional arguments this entire process! Taking coat hangers onto the floor of the House. Falsely claiming that the bills close clinics. Falsely accusing Republicans of not caring about “born” children. Inciting a near riot on the floor of the Texas Senate:
Complete, utter, and total hypocrisy on the part of Jessica Farrar. If you choose to watch Farrar’s speech after Smithee’s, go to the 10 hour, 25 minute mark. Nothing but emotional falsehoods.
The good news about this argument is that it exposes Texas Democrats for what they really are and what they really believe. They don’t care about children, women, or anything but power. Power so that they can fundamentally undermine Texas and the United States.
For all you professionals decrying this legislation and saying that it will be the death of the Republican Party in Texas, you wait and see.
And for Bill King, the “conservative” columnist in the Houston Chronicle, you need to step out of the country club, stop listening to your peers whining about “those” Republicans, and consider that without “those” Republicans, your country club Republicans wouldn’t have won an election in the last twenty years. Take that and stuff it in your cigar.