Guest Post: Laurie Felker Jones on Sen. Patrick's Abortion Bill

My friend Laurie Felker Jones sent me an email about her testimony that was taken yesterday on Sen. Dan Patrick's SB 182, which would require a woman to receive and view an ultrasound along with additional "information" before consenting to an abortion.

While Laurie's actual testimony was much shorter, below is the longer version of what was on her mind:

Good afternoon – be sure to let me know if you have trouble hearing me.

My name is Laurie Felker Jones, I was here last year testifying on the inaugural version of this bill -- we really should stop meeting like this.

I am here representing myself and the legions of Texas women who are working hard everyday to provide for their families and don’t have the time nor the desire to come here to justify their life choices to you -- a few, extreme legislators who would rather play politics than craft sound policies.

As we all know, there is no medical reason why a woman must see an ultrasound or hear a heartbeat -- whether in a wanted or unwanted pregnancy. So, why are we here? Politics, plain and simple. But aren’t there better ways to win a primary election especially in this economy – After all, I don’t see a lot of headlines stating “if I only had an ultrasound I wouldn’t have been laid off or lost my house to foreclosure”.

Because this bill is about politics, I won’t repeat to you what you have already been told by healthcare providers about why this bill just doesn’t make good policy.

Instead, I want to focus on why I – and others opposed to this bill – are opposed to its very principle which insinuates that women haven’t thought about what a serious choice this is – and that we’re so weak as a people that we can be easily persuaded or emotionally manipulated by an ultrasound and other political propaganda– even against our will. The fact is women who are pregnant and women who are not make tough choices every day and we get along just fine.

So, because you’re seeking to have your 3 minutes even against our will, I think it’s only fair that you allow me 3 now – even if you don’t care to hear it.

So, here’s the Top Five reasons why this bill is a bad idea:

5. This is just plain old bad information about how Sen. Patrick wants help women: 90% of women have abortions in the first trimester and you can’t even determine a heart beat until after the first trimester – so that part of the bill just doesn’t hold water.

Another reason why this is based on bad information is that even the FDA is against treating sonograms like toys because of the risk of miscarriage and other serious side effects– so don’t take my word for it – take the Fed’s.

If Sen. Patrick really want to save Texans’ lives by seeing what’s inside of women– how about more funding for mammograms?

4. There’s no clarity in this bill about the type of ultrasound Sen. Patrick’s requiring women to receive. If he’s really interested in this bill getting the maximum effect for women, I’m curious as to why Texans haven’t followed other States’ preference to use “the best picture available” by requiring the ultrasound to be vaginal. Victims of violent crimes like rape and incest need not be excused from this intrusive, humiliating exercise. After all, it’s for our own good.

And speaking of things that are for our own good, let’s get back to how this bill is insulting to the intelligence of women -- Come on, surely you can agree that if women know one thing, it’s where to shop! We get our nails done at nail salons, hair done at hair salons and women who are looking to continue pregnancies go to an Obstetrician. Conversely, when we’ve made the tough, family decision to terminate a pregnancy we make an appointment at an abortion clinic – and it’s not because we feel the burning desire to have a persuasive conversation about our lady business with our State legislators . In fact, it’s the very opposite, we go to abortion clinics to have safe, legal abortions – whether Sen. Patrick understands this or agrees doesn’t mean we haven’t thought it through.

3. Since you’re in the advice-giving business, Sen. Patrick, let’s make it easier for women to get ahold of you. I look forward to you publishing your cell number, home number, facebook, twitter, myspace, and atm pin code just in case me and a bunch of other Texas women need to bend your ear. For example, I’m going to be hungry later. Where’s a good place to pick up sandwich? Or maybe a tougher question, how am I gonna get my kid enrolled in CHIP?

2. I can understand why Sen. “on-air vasectomy” Patrick wants to be in the business of public medical procedures, but why stop at the clinic -- let’s make it easier for you to practice. Let’s put a sonogram machine next to the constituent sign in sheet on the floor of the Senate – you and your co-authors can take turns operating it. Let’s offer free colonoscopies in the Visitor’s Parking Lot and prostate exams on the steps of the Capitol. We can put the results on that Jumbo-tron you used a few weeks ago -- Don’t worry, you can “avert your eyes”.

1. Finally, is the most boring reason this is bad bill: This is about bad priorities. In the amount of time you spend playing political football with women’s lives and women’s health YOU could have prevented numerous unintended pregnancies which reduce the need for women to seek abortion care – OR help a new Mom and baby by providing healthcare, daycare or job training OR cleaned up a Texas river – OR provided some jobs, roads or bridges to your district OR anything, really anything that’s not controversial for Texans -- just do that. Last Session over 100 amendments to Sen. Patrick’s companion bill, threatened to run down the calendar and kill thousands your fellow legislators priorities. I bet they thank you for your divisive politics when the rest of us are trying to focus on goals we share: like reducing the number of abortions.

There are numerous, hardworking, good-natured people with solid facts and figures who walk the Capital halls daily visiting offices imploring our legislators to give women and men the information and tools they need to prevent unintended pregnancies. Either we work together to prevent unwanted pregnancies or you can continue to shake your fingers at women in clinics. The choice, for now, is yours.

2 Response to "Guest Post: Laurie Felker Jones on Sen. Patrick's Abortion Bill"

  • Anonymous Says:

    This makes we want to stand up and cheer! Love it! Brilliant!

  • jolie Says:

    yep, you've voiced my thoughts. (if way more elegantly and to-the-point!) thank you ! thank you !