Yes, you read that correctly. The Texas senate is currently debating SB1, a bill that, if enacted, could introduce some of the harshest abortion restrictions in the country, effectively shutting down nearly every clinic in its state. This situation certainly sounds familiar (terrifyingly so) to those who followed the story of Wendy Davis a few weeks ago, the Texas senator who filibustered for eleven hours in order to prevent the bill from passing in to law. After the senate tried to pass the law after midnight and ultimately failed in doing so, a special session was held in the Texas house, which added new limits on Wednesday, placing the bill back in line for debate.
The gallery that attended Wendy Davis’ filibuster was deemed “rowdy” by many, with the large crowd chanting, booing, and cheering throughout the course of the night. One of the most moving and notable moments of the night was the chanting of “Let her speak!” after Wendy Davis’ filibuster had been declared in violation of senate rules. The opposition the bill faced was tremendous, garnering much social media attention and support, especially on Twitter and Tumblr. Despite the backlash, however, the bill has ended up on the table for debate once again.
Apparently, the uproar from the previous session was jarring to those in charge of security. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst was quoted as saying on Thursday, “We’re going to have strict enforcement. If there are any demonstrations, we are going to clear the gallery. I hope we don’t get to that point but if we do, we do. This is a democracy and we will not be interrupted from doing the people’s work by an unruly mob.” How interesting that “doing the people’s work” seems to mean silencing the people who don’t agree with politicians that aim to control women’s bodies, at seemingly any cost necessary.
This “beefing up” of security entailed confiscating tampons and pads from purses and individuals before they entered the gallery. This caused a bit of an uproar on Twitter and other social media sites, including Tumblr. The tags #tampongate and #SB1, among others, are flooded with images and tweets relating to the absurd procedure.
Update from #Texas… RT @andreagrimes: Confirmed: state troopers are searching all bags and confiscating tampons and pads. #hb2 #sb1
— feministcampus (@feministcampus) July 12, 2013
All menstruating women, please report to the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, and BLEED ALL OVER EVERYTHING. #TexLege #HB2 #SB1
— Imani ABL (@AngryBlackLady) July 12, 2013
Guns don't kill people, tampons kill people? #TexasLogic #swtw
— Sara Lang (@SaraLang) July 12, 2013
#tampon collection as they let people into the gallery. #txlege #hb2 #sb1 #swtw pic.twitter.com/PtVX8eXAsL
— Shelby Alexander (@ShelbyLAlex) July 12, 2013
It’s worth noting that guns are still allowed into the gallery, as long as they are accompanied by a permit. Officers are saying that they have made no changes to the list of prohibited items, and that they are simply trying to enforce the “rules of decorum.” The writer’s feelings about this subject are best exemplified by a tweet from Jessica Valenti, found below.
If feminists really were planning to pelt the GOP with tampons, I hope now they'll throw the ones from places too private to confiscate from
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) July 12, 2013