Last night in a wild scene in the Texas state legislature, an angry mob was able to do what a 13 hour filibuster by a state senator could not accomplish, prevent the passage of a lifesaving bill.
The pro-life measure, SB5, if passed by the state senate would have, among other things, prevented abortions in the state after 20 weeks. It was very similar to a bill just passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, which I wrote about last week, that would ban all abortions across the nation after 20 weeks. It would have joined a number of other states in banning late term abortions post 20 weeks.
Yet, what happened was an unbelievable, chaotic display of anarchy. After the formal filibuster was ended, a crowd of over 400 angry pro-abortion protesters in the gallery yelled, screamed, and chanted to the point that the vote could not take place. The din and chaos in the chamber caused the vote to take place after a midnight deadline for accomplishing business in the Texas legislature, invalidating its passage.
While this provides a temporary victory for pro-abortion demonstrators and anarchists, Texas Governor Rick Perry has the opportunity to call a special session to allow a re-vote on this bill.
While this mob is reminiscent of the ultimately doomed union fight with Scott Walker in Wisconsin, it is also a reminder of a basic principle of any representative democracy: mob rule must never be allowed as a substitute for the democratic system.
Here, the will of the people through their elected representatives must not be allowed to be thwarted by a small but vocal angry mob. We do not live in a society ruled by mob but by the will of the people through their elected representatives.
The fact is the bill had the votes to pass, to protect life, to close up to 80% of abortion clinics in the state, and to prevent unborn children from being killed after 20 weeks in utero – babies that feel pain. An overwhelming majority of Americans – including Texans – oppose these late-term abortions.
The angry mob had their day. Now the millions of unborn babies who have had their lives tragically cut short and the millions more yet to come deserve their day. This is a fight that will continue, and the voices of anger and hate will not shout down the unrelenting cry of posterity.
Update: Governor Perry has just announced that he is calling a second special session to reconsider the pro-life legislation. He stated: “Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state. . . . Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn. . . . We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do.”
Matthew Clark is Associate Counsel for Government Affairs and Media Advocacy with the ACLJ. A lifelong citizen of the Commonwealth of Virginia, he lives with his wife and three boys in Northern Virginia. Follow Matthew Clark: @_MatthewClark.