Texas Senate Passes Anti-Abortion Bill; Tampons Banned From Senate Gallery
Texas Senate Republicans succeeded yesterday in finally passing the strict anti-abortion bill that had earlier been filibustered by Sen. Wendy Davis. The evening was free from the raucous protests and disruptions that delayed the last vote, but still attracted national attention.
The Texas Tribune reports that the Texas Department of Public Safety was initially confiscating all paper goods found in the bags of people entering the Senate gallery, including feminine hygiene products like pads and tampons. The DPS said it was operating under instructions from the Senate sergeant-at-arms, who was targeting objects he thought could be thrown at senators.
In a press release, the DPS lumped hygiene products together with confiscated items like bags of glitter and jars of urine.
In response, one of the lead organizers of the abortion rights protests solicited feminine hygiene products to be sent to the State House and used to stock restrooms for women who actually needed them.
The Tribune also reports that the guards were later told to allow in tampons and pads after complaints from Sen. Kirk Watson.
Reports say protesters outside could be heard, and some were removed from the gallery after outbursts, but that the vote was not disrupted.
Some news outlets have noted the irony that items like concealed weapons (with permits) are in fact allowed in the Senate chamber, with at least one Republican suggesting that he would bring his in response to the outpouring of opposition to the bill.
The bill provides a 20-week cutoff for all abortions, with no exception for cases of rape or incest, one of the strictest limits in the nation. Also, it creates onerous requirements for abortion clinics that are expected to close all of the state’s facilities outside of a few major cities.