Texas Two-Face

By Bill Maher

New Rule: If Texas is going to tout itself as the low-regulation, business-friendly state, they have to extend their hands-off, free market policies to all small businesses – including the ones that provide safe, legal abortions.

Rick Perry travels the country, telling businesses, “Come to Texas. We’re a free market paradise. We’ll stay out of your hair.” Unless it’s your pubic hair. If you provide reproductive health services, then we’ll be all up in your cooch.

I know they say “Don’t mess with Texas,” but if the service you provide is early pregnancy termination, Texas will mess with you. Their new law bans abortion at 20 weeks, even though the Supreme Court says fetal viability doesn’t occur until somewhere between 24 and 28 weeks. And it requires doctors to perform all abortions in approved surgical facilities and to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals – even though there often aren’t any hospitals “nearby,” and those that are refuse to grant abortion doctors admitting privileges. 

It’s just more Republican hypocrisy. Their principles are ironclad, unwavering and applied only when convenient. As the New York Times reported back in May, “Politicians and economists credit the [low regulation] stance with helping attract jobs and investment to Texas, which has one of the fastest-growing economies in the country, and with winning the state a year-after-year ranking as the nation’s most business friendly.”

And how is all that deregulation working out for Texas? The New York Times continues, “Fires and explosions at Texas’ more than 1,300 chemical and industrial plants have cost as much in property damage as those in all the other states combined for the five years ending in May 2012. Compared with Illinois, which has the nation’s second-largest number of high-risk sites, more than 950, but tighter fire and safety rules, Texas had more than three times the number of accidents, four times the number of injuries and deaths, and 300 times the property damage costs.”

Texas Republicans keep insisting their strict new abortion laws are all about “protecting women’s health.” Fine. But why aren’t you as passionate about protecting citizens’ health when it comes to any of your other industries?