Perry blames abortion rights activists for 'absolute anarchy'
July 1st, 2013
12:13 PM ET
7 years ago

Perry blames abortion rights activists for 'absolute anarchy'

(CNN) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he expects the state legislature to finish their work as early as next week in a special session held in part to vote on restrictive abortion legislation.

But the Republican governor cautioned that there won't be the same "turmoil" and "mob rule" from protesters in the public gallery as there was last week.

Though another large crowd is expected to descend upon Austin Monday, "the lieutenant governor and the speaker both are not going to allow that to occur in their chambers," Perry said in an interview with KFYO, a radio station based in Lubbock, Texas.

Supporters of state Sen. Wendy Davis piled into the state capitol last week as the Democrat from Ft. Worth attempted a 13-hour filibuster to stop a bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and tighten standards on abortion clinics and the doctors who work at them. Critics say the legislation would shut most of the abortion clinics in Texas.

Texas abortion battle continues, heads into second special session

When the chairman ruled she had gone off topic around her 10th hour, the Senate attempted to cut her off and officially end the debate. The chamber then entered a lengthy debate about parliamentary rules, and shortly before midnight, supporters of Davis stalled by shouting and chanting in the public gallery. Others who were gathered in the rotunda joined in-all with the goal of silencing the Senate to prevent a vote on the bill.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced the bill was dead at 3 a.m., faulting the protesters for disrupting the process.

View the state House version of the bill

Perry said Monday that a group of people have never taken over the voting process at the capitol in the state's history. Asked how long he expects the Senate to stay in session, Perry said it depends: "The question is are you going to let a small group of people take over the process, an unruly mob, to keep from democracy from occurring."

But, he added, he thinks lawmakers "can get in and get out of here by next Monday or next Wednesday."

In a separate interview with WBAP, a station that serves the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex, Perry said the "absolute anarchy that we saw in the last 15 minutes in the Senate chamber (was) not appropriate or normal."

Wendy Davis: Perry has ‘demeaned’ the office he holds

He called on the anti-abortion community to have the same intensity as their opponents in the days ahead but to conduct themselves with "decency, civility and decorum."

"Regardless of whether there is a vocal opposition...Texans and their views will prevail," he said.

Perry fiercely defended the bill in the radio interviews, saying the legislation does more for women who are having an abortion by requiring higher medical standards to be put in place.

Davis, meanwhile, quickly became a national figure following her filibuster. Perry offered some personal criticism of the state senator last week, sparking a public dispute between the two that launched speculation over whether Texas may see a Perry-Davis showdown in next year's gubernatorial election.

Wendy Davis: From teen mom to Harvard Law to famous filibuster

The state senator told NBC News she hasn't "ruled out" the idea of running for governor but is focused on preventing the abortion bill from passing in the special session. In her slew of recent media interviews, Davis has argued that Perry is simply trying to boost his political aspirations by being a big voice in the abortion battle.

Asked about Davis on Monday, Perry, who hasn't announced whether he'll run in 2014, told KFYO the issue is about a debate over life and women's health, not "someone's political future."

Texas filibuster on abortion bill rivets online

- CNN's Miguel Marquez contributed to this report.

Filed under: Abortion • Rick Perry • Texas
soundoff (640 Responses)
  1. brian

    Is Texas in America? Somehow it doesn't fit in. Maybe we should give it back to Mexico.

    July 1, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    freedom – Why use that screen name when you're an advocate against personal freedom? Or is it because you despise women so much? Either way, what a miserable existence you lead.

    July 1, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Peraltarat

    Men should have NO say in women's reproductive rights.

    July 1, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. Starflyr

    The anatomy ("big"/"gender"/level 2) ultrasound is done usually between 18-20 weeks gestation because the fetus isnt big enough to do it before then. This ultrasound is the one where major non-genetic defects are found – Major heart defects, major brain/spinal cord defects, big problems with internal organs and development. I worked quite a bit in residency with part of the team that saw these mothers/families when they got these diagnoses, and tried to help them make the the decision that was right for their family – whether that be see the pregnancy through and keep the baby and go through the often lifelong expensive medical procedures and rounds of surgeries or to go ahead and terminate the pregnancy. Even now, the law in Texas is no abortions past 22 weeks, and let me tell you, it is STILL hard to find OBs who will do a termination that late, even for a true medical reason. There was ONE in Houston who would do it for women on medicaid. ONE. And often, we were scrambling to help these mothers who made the decision to terminate, because once they hit 22 weeks, they hcould not legally terminate, no matter their wishes. This law would take that choice away.

    July 1, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. DeeDee

    Really? Texas come on. Rick Perry you just executed #500 and you have a problem with abortion? My bible taught me that killing is killing. Sorry, but you cannot have it both ways. Either you believe in life or you don't. There was no quesiton that the prisoner you just executed was a life all its own. The inconsistancy here is staggering.

    July 1, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. steelystan82

    I've read through several pages of these comments and here's what I've noticed: Pretty much all of the anti-abortion comments are made by males (or people with a male name); conservatives, who claim to be the party of smaller gov't, want the gov't to make more rules/ban more things; Perry is ok killing living things outside of the womb but not inside the womb; religious people are completely insane.

    July 1, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. nunya

    Don't worry women in Texas, Republican males know more about your bodies than you do, things like how a woman's body can prevent her from getting pregnant when she's raped.

    July 1, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. John

    I am now officially ashamed to have been born in the once-great state of Texas.

    July 1, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. Peter

    Did he come up with this in his own?
    With both digits of his IQ??

    July 1, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Susie

    @DeeDee A criminal is not an innocent human being. Does that compute?

    July 1, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. jane

    @Buddy: "we love our babies". No you don't. Texas politicians use abortion/birth control as a political tool for fundraising etc. They don't give a damn about unborn babies. And they sure don't care about them after they're born – just ask the 500th person (a woman) whom the State of Texas just executed. Killing is killing, isn't it?????

    July 1, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. "democracy"

    Perry is ignorant and so are the fools who continue to vote for him.
    Many media outlets forgot to report everything that happened last week.
    The republicans tried to cheat and shut up Wendy Davis but they failed.

    Here is what came out after the filibuster
    Last night something very important happened down in Texas, something that if you weren't following as it happened, you're probably not going to hear the whole truth about. I was one of the people who was in the right place to watch, and so I'm now going to try to pass on the word as best I can. I'm tagging some of you at the bottom, people who I think should read this. Apologies for anyone who finds this disruptive.

    The Texas senate voted yesterday on an bill that essentially would have closed nearly every abortion clinic in the state. To try to counter the bill (which was heavily supported by the Republican majority, senator Wendy Davis attempted a one-woman day-long filibuster, during which time she spoke on the subject while going without food, water, bathroom breaks or being allowed to sit down or even lean on her table for support. She lasted nearly eleven hours before being ruled off topic on a technicality. A second female senator then stepped up and tried to continue the filibuster by asking for salient points to be repeated to her, as she missed part of the session that day to attend her father's funeral.

    But here's where things get interesting. With fifteen minutes before the midnight deadline, the lieutenant governor ordered the senate to proceed, and actually had the democrats' microphones cut off. The spectators in the assembly responded by cheering, chanting and generally causing a ruckus, in order to drown out attempts at a vote. The midnight deadline passed without a vote being taken, but the chair held a vote after midnight, as the spectators were forced out of the assembly. During all of this, there was no coverage on MSNBC, CNN or any other major news network, with the only coverage coming from a livestream set up by the Teas Tribune.

    At 12:15, the Associated Press ran a story saying the bill had passed, which CBS picked up. This was based on a sole source, which the AP later admitted was a republican senator. Meanwhile in the chambers, the senators stood around, both sides confused if the vote had even happened, if they had even voted on the correct issue. The chair had left with the lieutenant governor without ending the session. The Tribune's feed was cut at 12:20 with 70,000 people watching. CNN at this point was talking about the deliciousness of muffins.

    Outside in the halls of the senate building, thousands of people were packed wall to wall, chanting "shame, shame", while thousands more were outside. State police had formed a barricade around the entrance hall, and were making sporadic arrests (50 or so by night's end) and confiscating cameras. In the thick of it was a guy named Christopher Dido, who used his cell phone and a live stream to report on what was happening. He was the only journalist in America who was filming at the senate, with as many as 30,000 people watching the stream at one time, and over 200,000 viewers by night's end. He did this while the state police surrounded the protesters in the building, some of them with nightsticks drawn. The police at this time refused to let through food or water that people tried to send in, instead eating and drinking it themselves. They also barricaded access to vending machines and water fountains within the building, and were said to have blocked off access to the washrooms for at least a period of time. Meanwhile, journalists still inside the chambers tweeted out news updates, which were disseminated and retweeted by people like Matt Fraction, Felicia Day and Will Wheaton, reaching an audience that would otherwise have probably not seen or heard what happened next.

    The senate was recalled 90 minutes after its midnight end point, to determine whether or not the vote was valid- behind closed doors with no microphones, and only the Senate's own muted camera. Then something disturbing happened. The senate website carries the official record of the caucus. It listed the vote as happening past midnight, on June 26th. Until suddenly it didn't. The date was quietly manually changed to 6/25, the minutes altered to say the vote happened at 11:59, despite almost 200,000 people watching live who saw differently. Suddenly twitter and other social media sites blew up with before-and-after screen shots. Inside the closed sessions, the democrats were made aware of the alterations and brought them up- without social media, almost no one would have known, and never in time. Ultimately, based on the fraudulent alterations, the GOP conceded defeat, admitting the vote had taken place at 12:03, and declaring the bill to be dead. When this happened, the AP and CBS said the vote was overturned, never admitting to shoddy journalism. CNN ignored the story until this morning, because muffins take priority.

    Yesterday, I witnessed women's rights under fire, a crippled legal system that didn't represent its people, a corrupt government body attempting to commit a crime in front of hundreds of thousands of witnesses, and the complete failure of the main stream media. I also witnessed a woman performing a nearly superhuman act to do what was right, the power of the people making themselves heard both in person and online, and the extraordinary value of one young man with a cellphone making sure people saw and heard the truth about what was going on.

    Anyone reading the papers or watching network news today won't get the full story. Hopefully enough people saw it unfold live, that the lessons from last night won't be forgotten.

    July 1, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. Thomas

    This guy thought he was going to president .

    What a nut job

    July 1, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. Rossi

    Governor Perry doesn't blink when it comes to executing prisoners on death row. How did he figure out that that's not murder but abortion is? This guy is a genius.

    July 1, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. JanetMermaid

    Oh so I guess the VOTING PUBLIC is now just a mob to be ignored. How long is it until we can vote ALL these asshats out of office?

    July 1, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Li

    Someone needs to remind Governor Perry that Mob does indeed rule. It's called Government by the will of the "PEOPLE" - the people he calls a mob! This is why he will never be President let alone any other higher office then Had Been-Texas Governor

    July 1, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. TickedTock

    There is such a feeling of Taliban when it comes to many God spouting Republican males. I find it mind boggling that so many are elected.

    July 1, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. tammyleg

    This moron of a governor needs to have the state get out the ole tar and feathers and run his nasty butt out of office and the state. He is such a stupid, ignorant gasbag. He's already embarrassed the state on the national stage when he attempted to run for president. Now he's going to spend even more money and time trying to continue his fight against women and their choice. He is a bigot and a hater. ENOUGH of this man. !!!

    July 1, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. Texalea

    Texas Girl, are you confusing democracy with shouting and chanting? I'm certainly no Rick Perry apologist, but the literally screaming mom didn't give elected representatives the chance to cast their votes. I agree with Perry in this – the 10th hour in Austin belonged to the mob, not to democracy.

    July 1, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  20. Jason

    If abortion is murder GOP's opposition to healthcare for all is genocide

    July 1, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. HollyBB2000

    Democracy is when your elected representative and elected Governor enact laws.

    Perry is right, you have a minority using the most absurd of language trying to demand their way.
    They claim they speak for women – they do not. They claim that choice is being removed – that is also not true.

    This is a balanced law, that outlaws late term abortions while keeping full choices in the first 5 months.
    It's a balanced approach that Texans support.

    July 1, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. James

    Hey Rick... Way to make a name for yourself as the Governor that gave the State of Texas to the Democrats in 2014! Thank you !

    PS... I hope a member of your Family is faced with an unwanted or FORCED pregnancy. As a matter of fact, I hope it happens in all of the scnearios possible so you can see your ignorance and stupidity in action and then pay for it over and over and over and over and over... What a hateful closed minded fool you are.

    July 1, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. John

    Rick Perry is by no means the only reactionary oppressive leader in Texas, but rest assured he does NOT represent all of Texas. It is only because the Republican party knows they can count on him to toe the party line on all things without regard to the will of the people that he (and they) remain in office.

    July 1, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. tommy

    Anarchy in dewmocracy?! Isn't that what Texas is all about, whatwith their constant gerrymandering with no judicial oversight? Texas as a state in this union is a joke. Let them secede. We're better off.

    July 1, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. Loathstheright

    The thing I like most about Texas is I don't live there, and they don't live here.

    July 1, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
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