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Abortion Hearing in Committee Today

Hearing scheduled for 3:30pm, with midnight cut off
Richard Whittaker, 12:00pm, Tue. Jul. 2, 2013
Photo by John Anderson
The crowds protesting Texas Republicans' plans to restrict women's reproductive rights and health care. Don't expect these numbers in the committee hearing today.

House Bill 2 – the new version of the astonishingly restrictive anti-abortion measures briefly crippled by the citizen's filibuster – will be heard by the House State Affairs Committee today at 3:30pm. Chairman Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, has already said that he will terminate testimony at midnight.

Cook's decision makes for some simple math: 8 and 1/2 hours of testimony, limited to three minutes per speaker, means an absolute maximum of 170 speakers. Take away time to switch over, procedural issues, over-run, etc etc etc, and that 170 slinks down to a much lower number.

At yesterday's mass rally in the capitol grounds, the pro-choice advocates easily outnumbered the anti-choice groups by ten to one, but today may turn out differently. There is already concern on the ground that the blue shirt crew has taken the bulk of the slots that will be available, giving the evangelical wing of the GOP exactly what it wants – a lot of video testimony from supporters of the bill

The hearing convenes July 2 at 3:30pm in room E2.030 of the capitol extension. Democrats yesterday were expressing profound concern that the room will not be big enough to seat even the committee, never mind the people who want to testify.

If you can't make it, the entire hearing will be online via the legislature's streaming video service (Realplayer required, because, while the GOP's healthcare policies may be medieval, their technology dates to 1995.)

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