Happy Texas Independence Day! Seems like the perfect time to celebrate all things Lone Star: chili con queso, Willie Nelson, and limiting women’s access to reproductive health care.
In advance of this oh-so-important holiday, Samantha Bee spoke with Texas state Rep. Dan Flynn (R) on Monday’s Full Frontal, the only late night satirical show hosted by a woman — and, coincidentally, the only late night show in which the host doesn’t get a desk.
Rep. Flynn is the co-author of HB2, the 2013 bill that closed nearly half of Texas’ abortion clinics and whose constitutionality is currently being debated in the Supreme Court. The bill required abortion clinics to perform cost-prohibitive upgrades to meet the standards of ambulatory care centers, which have, among other pretty arbitrary requirements: wide corridors, janitors’ closets of a specified size, separate locker rooms for men and women, and white walls. None of these standards are required for DIY abortions, by the way, which desperate Texan women are increasingly resorting to as their access to actual clinics is heavily limited.
It should come as a surprise to no one that Rep. Flynn doesn’t actually know anything about abortion other than the fact that he is against it. But rather than be honest about his opposition to abortion, Rep. Flynn and his cohort claim HB2 is all about preserving women’s health. “We’re not removing access to health care,” Flynn told Samantha Bee. “We’re improving it.” Because the real threat to women isn’t a lack of access to abortion, it’s lavender walls at the doctor’s office.
If the Supreme Court upholds or fails to rule on HB2, the second-largest state in the Union will be left with only 10 abortion clinics. Already, some women in the state must drive hundreds of miles to find a clinic — which often means they simply never go. And that’s exactly the point, as HB2 co-author Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Texas) told NPR:
“Hopefully,” Isaac said, “they’ll be more preventative and not get pregnant.” Women who live far from a clinic should realize, he said, that, “Hey, that might still be an option legally, but now I live 300 miles away from the nearest place — I should probably be more careful.”
Enjoy your independence, Texas — just kidding! You’re still, unfortunately, part of the United States. And as for women’s rights, well, you just don’t have a whole lot to celebrate.
For more on the connections between reproductive rights and the environment, watch this Grist classic: