NPR : News

Filed Under:

Texas Abortion Fight Follows Familiar Pattern

For many watching the abortion fight in Texas, it's deja vu all over again.

Abortion-rights protesters once again gathered Monday at the state capitol building to express their outrage at the Legislature's attempt to further restrict abortions in the state. The images from Austin looked a lot like the previous week's when state Sen. Wendy Davis famously filibustered to stop the legislation from passing.

But another reason the scene looks familiar is that Texas is the latest state in which protesters in the hundreds have descended on a Republican-controlled state capitol to try to stop legislative efforts to implement elements of a conservative agenda.

And just as the protesters in Texas appear to have the odds against them, so did protesters in Wisconsin and North Carolina who failed to stop the changes that spurred their activism.

In Wisconsin, protesters laid siege to the state capitol in 2011 as part of an attempt to turn back the effort by Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled Legislature to restrict the collective bargaining power of most public employee unions.

Not only did protesters fail to stop the legislation they despised but they also fell short in their goal to oust Walker or to gain partial control of the Legislature.

This spring, protesters in North Carolina, led by the NAACP, staged what they called Moral Mondays, rallies at the state capitol building in Raleigh to protest legislative efforts by the Republican governor and lawmakers that progressives found abhorrent.

Many demonstrators wound up getting arrested, placing further strains on an already strained county court system, according to one news report.

But they couldn't stop the conservative agenda put forward by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and GOP lawmakers. Among the laws pushed through: an end to long-term jobless benefits and a resumption of executions, a penalty that had been halted for several years owing to concerns about racial disparities in death sentences.

Measured by their success in stopping the legislative efforts that galvanized them, the protests in North Carolina and Wisconsin didn't accomplish much, at least to date. And in Texas, protesters are likely to share a similar outcome.

But these protests may end up advancing other goals. They've served as focal points for organizing, they've helped new leaders to surface and they've proved to be great tools for raising money.

The Texas protests, for example, have raised Davis' profile, sparking talk that she could use the publicity as a springboard to run for governor. Texas Democrats have also used the protests and the successful filibuster to raise money. That's a double-edged sword, however: Republicans have countered by telling their own supporters that their donations can help protect against "mob rule."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

A Glimpse Of Listeners' #NPRpoetry — From The Punny To The Profound

It was a simple idea: Would you, our listeners, tweet us poems for National Poetry Month? Your response contained multitudes — haiku, lyrics, even one 8-year-old's ode to her dad's bald spot.
WAMU 88.5

Eating Insects: The Argument For Adding Bugs To Our Diet

Some say eating insects could save the planet, as we face the potential for global food and protein shortages. It's a common practice in many parts of the world, but what would it take to make bugs more appetizing to the masses here in the U.S.? Does it even make sense to try? A look at the arguments for and against the practice known as entomophagy, and the cultural and environmental issues involved.

WAMU 88.5

A Federal Official Shakes Up Metro's Board

After another smoke incident and ongoing single tracking delays for fixes, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced a shake-up of Metro's board.

NPR

'The Guardian' Launches New Series Examining Online Abuse

A video was released this week where female sports journalists were read abusive online comments to their face. It's an issue that reaches far beyond that group, and The Guardian is taking it on in a series called "The Web We Want." NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with series editor Becky Gardiner and writer Nesrine Malik, who receives a lot of online abuse.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.