THE EYES ON TEXAS

1. It’s Monday, June 27, 2016.

2. A new poll out this morning shows Trump with an 8-percentage-point lead over Hillary Clinton.

In Texas.

That’s a state where you’d expect Trump to be double digits ahead. It seems to be the perfect Petri dish for the racist, isolationist germs he’s been spreading for the past year.

But Texas is also Austin and good-sized Latino and African-American populations. It’s a bellwether for the changes in our population that we expect to see over the next half-century.

There’s been lots of talk that Texas, which turned solid red after native-son Lyndon Johnson pushed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, could become purple in the next few years as the population changes.

I’ve been hoping that would happen in 2016. That Trump could actually lose Texas. It’s still a bit of a dream. But eight points in four months isn’t impossible. 

3. But here’s why today is a tough day for the white yahoos who give Texas its bad reputation: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-3 to strike down the ridiculous law imposing onerous restrictions  on places where abortions are performed.

Among the things the law did was require buildings where abortions are performed meet the standards of a hospital emergency room, with ultrawide hallways so that two surgical gurneys could pass each other. This, despite the fact that most abortions are not surgical procedures.

The proponents of this law, and others like it around the country, all parroted the same line – that  they were only looking out for the health of women.

Which is crap. By limiting the places where women can deal with their health issues – these places aren’t just for abortions – they put women at far greater risk.

The High Court ruled wisely in striking down the law, calling the provisions a violation of the Constitution.

Advocates for women’s health and safety cheered the ruling, of course. But it’s a costly victory – in the three years since Texas passed the law, many of the places where abortions have been performed shut down because of their inability to meet the regulations.

4. And it’s a reminder that the abortion issue has been a pain ever since the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973.

The opponents of Roe v. Wade cloak themselves in the term pro-life so as to present those who favor unlimited access to abortion as pro-death. But they don’t seem so pro-life as to care much about the women affected by them. These same people tend to be opposed to making contraception and prenatal care readily available, to making sure women who go through with a pregnancy get adequate time to care for a new child before returning to work.

Making abortion nearly impossible to get won’t end abortions. Hardly. Women, especially those who’ve become pregnant due to rape, are going to find ways to end that pregnancy if they don’t want to be sentenced to forced motherhood. They’ll put their lives at risk to do – and that’s hardly pro-life under any reasonable standard.

Those who cheer today’s ruling need to remain vigilant. Don’t think for a second that the people who came up with these cockamamie building restrictions and hospital residency rules aren’t plotting some other stupid thing. Don’t think they’ve given up on demonizing Planned Parenthood, an organization that helps women and men deal with health and family planning.

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