Cortney O'Brien

Fight Back Texas, a progressive group in the very red Lone Star State, is recognizing the one-year anniversary of pro-abortion activists’ efforts to stop pro-life legislation (HB2) from passing through the state legislature. They failed in that attempt, but decided to celebrate anyway with a comprehensive and misleading oral history:

Last summer, thousands of Texans flooded the state Capitol to stand up against politicians who talk about freedom but then force ideological agendas on women.

A year later, we are louder, stronger, and more determined than ever.

The left-leaning group contacted more than 40 people and recorded 27 interviews offering insights and never-before-heard stories from last year, including the woman at the center of the abortion debate: Wendy Davis.

I’ll just pick out a few moments of invaluable insight from the lengthy report. First came the House State Affairs Committee hearing and Democratic legislators attempt to prevent pro-life bills from seeing the light of day. Democrat Jessica Farrar, who represents the 148th district of Texas, likened her own efforts to an arcade game:

“That’s basically what I did all session - make sure these bills never saw the light of day. It’s like one of those games where the little heads keep popping up, and as soon as you hit one down another one pops back up.”

Heather Busby, the Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, then described the crowd atmosphere during the following testy hearings:

Heather Busby: “People were shouting. It was late, and I was just like, “Oh god are we going to riot? How do we diffuse this?” Reps. Jessica Farrar and Donna Howard helped the situation by allowing people to continue to speak. And it kind of fell over. It wasn’t a crazy, unruly mob.”

(Footage proving they did turn into an unruly mob to come later.)

The oral history then goes into detail on less reported moments, such as when Rep. Senfronia Thompson brought a coat hanger to the podium, suggesting that women would succumb to drastic measures to have abortions if the pro-bill passed:

Brittany Yelverton: “And then when she took the coat hanger, left it on the mic, and walked away. It was like a very professional mic drop.”

Of course, no oral history of pro-choice Texans' summer of 2013 would be complete without a whole chapter dedicated to State Senator Wendy Davis’ 12-hour filibuster. Davis, who is now running for governor, spoke for half a day trying to stop the bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks.

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Davis told Fight Back Texas how she felt before her big moment:

“Several Senators were willing to do it, and I was selected by my colleagues. I was motivated by the fact that thousands of people were yearning to be heard on this issue and were turned away. The health care and reproductive rights of Texas women were at stake, and I decided that I was going to attempt a filibuster in order give voice to the people who felt that their voices weren’t being heard.”

That’s when she became every feminist’s pro-abortion hero:

Heather Busby: “Wendy Davis was fearless. She stood up for us, literally and figuratively, in her iconic pink running shoes. She was under intense scrutiny the whole time, but she remained strong and poised until the very end.”

As we all remember, a few days later thousands of angry pro-choice activists descended on the Texas state capitol to rally against the pro-life bills, highlighted in the chapter “Orange vs. Blue." That is, pro-choice advocates in their orange t-shirts versus pro-lifers in blue. Included in this chapter is an innocent photo of a young girl looking up at Ann Richards, the only woman in the lower portion of the portrait gallery of the Capitol.

Sarah Schimmer (Activist): "So I caught that picture on my iPhone, of my daughter looking up at the Ann Richards portrait. I think that really captured the spirit of why we were there and why it was important."

I must admit it's a good strategy on the part of Fight Back Texas to include this sweet-looking photo, suggesting their fight is all about women's rights in Texas. After all, the part where they chanted “Hail Satan” at pro-lifers isn't quite so appealing.

Despite trying to convince us they had admirable motives for fighting pro-life legislation, Fight Back Texas's oral history has no happy ending. Pro-choicers lost and unborn babies won.

I’m actually glad Fight Back Texas has produced this in depth report. It’s a good reminder of why Wendy Davis became a household name in the first place: She fought for something Texans don’t believe in. Her extreme pro-abortion views are out of line with Texans.

Davis's presumed defeat in November is likely to go down in history as well.


Cortney O'Brien

Cortney O'Brien is a Townhall web editor. Follow her on Twitter @obrienc2.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography