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Texas state Sen. Jane Nelson looks on as Gov. Rick Perry gestures during a bill signing.
Texas state Sen. Jane Nelson with Gov. Rick Perry
The chair of the Texas state Senate Health and Human Services Committee, the person in charge of getting an incredibly restrictive anti-abortion bill through committee and to a vote of the full Senate, is a woman. And state Sen. Jane Nelson, Republican, wants you to know: She is totally all about women's rights. In fact, while you youngsters are getting off her lawn, you should be looking back and thanking her:
Nelson, who came to the Texas Senate in 1993, touted her record on standing up for women's issues, saying she was "speaking loudly for women's rights" in college 40 years ago.

"My generation laid the groundwork for a lot of these young women," she said. "We were the generation of firsts ... We were the ones that broke into that glass ceiling and we paved the way for years."

This bill? The one that closes most of the clinics in the state, forcing women to drive hundreds of miles to obtain a legal medical procedure if they so choose? Nelson thinks the whole women's rights thing is kind of a distraction, because "There are many other women's rights issues that we could be talking about" and "This is not a women's rights bill." You can say that again! I guess, to Nelson, there are women's rights bills and then there are other bills and it's not allowed to talk about women's rights if she doesn't think it's a women's rights bill? Like, you could be saying "hey, this bill violates women's rights," but to Jane Nelson, since it wasn't already a women's rights bill, that concern is not relevant? Maybe that explains some of her other votes:
In the last legislative session, Nelson was among those who voted to cut more than $73 million out of the state's $111.5 million family planning budget, which resulted in cutting off 147,000 women and closing more than 50 clinics. She also voted against legislation to bring the state into compliance with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, a federal law that makes it easier for women to sue employers over wage discrimination.
Huh. Maybe when she said of her generation that "We were the ones that broke into that glass ceiling and we paved the way for years," Nelson left something unsaid. Like maybe "we broke into that glass ceiling and paved the way for years, but now I'm replacing that ceiling with concrete and also building a wall in front of the way I previously paved." Or maybe "and also if you believe I actually spoke loudly for the rights of women other than myself and those like me, you are a total sucker."

12:53 PM PT: Jeebus. As for women coming to protest this non-women's rights bill, according to Burnt Orange Report:

Women are being forced to throw out tampons and maxi pads to enter the Senate gallery, which has been confirmed by DPS.

That's right: menstruating women are being denied entry to the Senate gallery unless they throw out their supplies.

Additionally, diabetics are asked to throw out their sugar packets.

2:01 PM PT: Uh, progress? According once again to Burnt Orange Report, tampons are no longer being confiscated.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 12:24 PM PDT.

Also republished by Abortion, Pro Choice, Sluts, and Daily Kos.

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