Texas passes landmark abortion restrictions, Texas DPS officers taser and sexually assault protestors immediately afterwords

The Texas Senate passed a landmark bill restricting abortion access last Thursday in a second special session called by the Governor. At the same time, the Capital of Texas building was filled with protestors, despite draconian access restrictions and the presence of armed and sometimes violent pro-life partisans.

The measure, which Governor Rick Perry signed today, would restrict abortions to 20 weeks. The bill requires all abortion clinics to be licensed as “surgical centers,” a provision that would require most of them to widen their hallways. Such cost-prohibitive renovations will force the closure of all but five of the state's 42 clinics by the end of the year. Planned Parenthood's gulf coast affiliate has already announced the closure of clinics in Bryan, Lufkin and Huntsville. These closures affect 130,000 patients, of whom only 3% sought abortions last year.

The bill passed the Texas Senate last week amidst spirited protest. The police response was heavy handed, one-sided and brutal. Protestors were searched upon entering the capitol building and were not permitted to bring tampons inside for fear they would be used to harm legislators. Firearms were permitted and a source told the Free Press that they witnessed at least one abortion opponent openly carrying a firearm and two others carrying firearms “concealed but blatantly obvious.”

Abortion opponents attempted to provoke the pro-choice crowd throughout the day with shoving, shouting, elbows and foot-stomps. On at least two occasions abortion opponents “waded into the crowd outnumbered while throwing punches until pulled out by the cops,” according to a Free Press source who identified themselves as a member of Cap City Antifa, a militant anti-fascist group based in Austin. The anti-choice activists were not arrested.

Immediately after the passing of the bill, police attacked protestors who were staging a sit in with fists, pepper spray, and tasers in what the Free Press's source called a “small scale police riot.” At least one independent journalist was also beaten. Two protestors were hospitalized overnight from their injuries, including one who was rendered unconscious after police picked him up and violently smashed him face first into the marble floor of the capital.

Photo [thelibertybeat.com]

Police reportedly arrested 12, although numbers as high as 18 arrests have been cited by some sources. Many female protestors also reported that they were groped by officers as the crowd was violently ejected from the seat of government. One arrested protestor was stripped in front of the crowd and paraded through the Senate chambers and left there chained on the floor while police openly mocked and laughed at her. She gave an interview about the incident which can be seen here:


The bill passed in Texas is nearly as restrictive as the confluence of measures passed and signed this year and last in Ohio. The bill signed by Governor Kasich would require all abortion clinics in the state to have a transfer agreement with a local hospital. Public hospitals are barred from having such an agreement. Thus, only private hospitals, many of whom are religiously prohibited from supporting abortion services may enter into such agreement. The Ohio law was passed without the resistance or brutality that marked the passage of the new Texas statute.

Date Originally Published: 
Friday, July 19, 2013
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