Last night Texas house Republicans robbed you while most of you slept. After gerrymandering Texas so they could silence your voice and the voice of Texans of color, last night a group of Stepford Republican women hand delivered legislation clearly written by anti-choice lobbyists intended to double the cost of abortion and force women in some parts of Texas to drive hundreds of miles for health care.
I say “hand delivered” because it was clear that the “author” of the bill could barely read it. The talking head in a pink dress proposing to control women’s reproductive health care could barely pronounce the parts of a woman’s anatomy. Her now infamous quote that rape kits clean a woman out should not be reduced to a joke. This ignorance will kill real women.
When her ignorance became too radiant to hide, the Republican chair allowed her to table other house members’ amendments without coming to the microphone to defend her reasons. When the vote finally came down about 3:30 in the morning it followed another anti-democratic slight-of-hand maneuver followed by high fives, primate hoots and Cheshire smirks.
But I am not writing you with bad news. You already knew that Republicans do not consider you a moral agent capable of making your own reproductive decisions. You already knew that they see you a kind of breeding stock Republican men need to make other Republicans. No, I am writing with good news.
Last night I saw a fire I haven’t seen since Ann walked these hallways. I heard a defiance I haven’t heard since Molly taunted these same bullies. I saw new champions emerge on the scene that will lead us into the future, because human rights are not won with political victories, they are born out of defeats that build movements. I saw a new breed of feminist men who can stand as allies to women without trying to control their movement of self determination.
The sad truth is that human rights are never safe. These Republicans will never rest until women are forced out of power. We must keep eternal vigil over our human rights and not allow any to be isolated from our group lest political jackals pick us off one at a time. But last night I saw the fire again. I saw the old champions, but there is a new leadership emerging in Texas that would make Ann and Molly very proud.
Women of Texas, do not call last night a defeat. Last night was a slap in the face of an awakening giant. Last night we saw that the game is rigged, which is just fine. We’re not playing their game anymore. Last night we saw if we trust in this political process we cannot win. Which is fine, because we also remembered that, if we become a political movement again, we cannot lose.
Last night was long and painful and beautiful because it seemed we remembered a primal truth. Human rights are not won, they are seized.
Thank you, Margaret.
The Whole World Is Watching~
“Last night was long and painful and beautiful because it seemed we remembered a primal truth. Human rights are not won, they are seized.”
Thank you for reminding us of what we all must remember. Going forward, these are words to light our way in dark days to come.
This makes me feel better, thank you. My own rage and depression after Thursday night and yesterday has been overwhelming. Thank you for the level head and calm voice.
I am heartsick at these people’s bad intentions and disgusted by the disrespect of the rules (they just voted to suspend the 24 hour rule before the Senate can hear the bill!), yet heartened by the energy and passion of the women and men giving everything up for the days that this has been going on.
How wonderful to know that Texans are beginning to catch on to the onslaught against the right of women too choose what happens to their bodies! I sincerely hope the steamroller gathers enough steam to make significant changes in the 2014 elections, and overcome the gerrymandering of electoral districts.
Well, I read this and I cried a little bit. Then I read some more, and I felt like maybe it’s not hopeless after all. And then I started to believe that maybe the “awakening giant” of feminists, joined by our feminist brothers, will fight again. Jim – thanks for caring, thanks for writing, thanks for posting!
Articulate commentary. My fire is lit!
AS I watched all of this unfold, my thoughts were of Ann Richards and how loud she would have been during this fight! I thank you most of all for honoring her voice in your letter. I absolutely agree with you on this and as a Woman in Texas, I will be on the forefront of doing whatever is necessary to take back this Great State I live in and fix the injustice being perpetrated on us by the Conservative Party.
Thank you Lana. I too kept thinking of the brave women from the past who struggled for all our mothers, sisters and daughters.
Texas politicians should hang their heads in shame. The stupidity of these actions is indescribable !
Poignant and hopeful. Thank you…. now I’m really, really mad.
A famous man said a couple of thousand years ago, “What you do to the least of mine, you do to me.”
Yes, I know that it’s a paraphrase, but you know who I’m talking about and what he said.
This was a man who championed human rights as far as being forced to die before his time and although he was not the first to do so and not the last by any means, he is the one most remembered.
He stood between a wronged woman and a street full of Republicans all armed with stones of every size ready to subdue her voice. The difference between those thugs and those who stand today is the lack of that certain individual who they know is the line not to be crossed.
Most of the ignorant believe that it was pure reason that stopped those stones from flying and that way of looking at the world is pushed by others with the Republican brain set. The fact is that man had power. Even in exile within his own land they knew he was of royal blood and to throw a stone at him would be really stupid.
Throughout the story of his final three years he was shown to be a true champion of women’s rights and if not for the women who came after, we would never have known of his story at all. It is a fact that Christianity would never have flourished if not for the patronage of many women of position in the Roman Empire. The only men who couldn’t be replaced were Jesus the Nazarene and Saul of Tarsus.
Why am I relating this story to that time so long ago? because like the old song says, “HIS-story repeats”
I refrained from yelling, booing, hissing and throwing things when the vote took less than a minute to pass.
I will not however tuck tail and run. Women joined together and stood for this together last night.
I watched as multiple generations fought side by side.
I used my Facebook profile to educate other women as to what was going on.
I listened as Jessica Farrar reminded the republicans that they still have to win general elections.
That power they have not managed to take. Yet.
So in the next general election…remember that.
Brilliantly stated. I am so proud of you. You are one of the women that WILL make a difference.
After reading “An Open Letter to the Women of Texas” and investigating who Jim Rigby is, I can understand why the liberal women of Texas are so uninformed and so angry. Pastor Rigby is an instigator of hate and, what I perceived from the “Open Letter”, violence. He is the poster child for a radical liberal. I cannot believe he is a MINISTER! If my pastor or priest was so filled with hatred, I would be finding a different faith leader. Conservatives cannot win against a person like that–we are too polite to fight that type of hatred radicalism.
I am not hating you when I protect other people from having you make their decisions.
Thank you for inspiring truth and justice. I think every woman in this state should be incensed snd rebel against this overt abuse of their rights and demeaning treatment of them as humans.
What happened to love your enemy?
I’m a Christian. I don’t have any enemies.
Here’s a primal truth you seem to be forgetting…that unborn child has the right to live. I agree that we all have a choice, but the choice is made when you decide to have sex, not when you decide to not take responsibility for your decision.
If someone came up to me on the street and shot me I don’t have the right to go shoot another innocent bystander. Becoming pregnant from being raped is horrible, and unfair, but it doesn’t give anyone the right to then be horrible and unfair to that unborn child, and try to pass it off as ‘Women’s Health’ or ‘Women’s Rights’.
I disagree, but respect your decision for yourself not to have an abortion. That is certainly one of the right choices a woman can make.
Thank you, Jim Rigby, for the beautiful writing and the tremendous affirmation delivered in such a timely manner. I watched on LiveStreaming thanks to the Texas Tribune and Texas A&M (amazing! who knew?). I am 62, a clinical social worker and remember very well when abortion was illegal…..cannot comprehend the huge u-turn our culture has taken that has brought us here….again. We are fighting mad now……it’s just begun! Thank you.
I testified at the national Freedom of Choice Act hearings. Women and doctors talked about the days before Roe. It was truly disturbing. Thank you.
A great analysis, and brilliantly stated. I only hope Texans (women and men) take it to heart and begin to work for the election of people who will act more responsibly.
Judy, I hope we all take it seriously too. Thanks.
Thanks Jim. Florence would be so proud of you.
How wonderful to hear from you. I think of Flo and Bill often.
…here’s a great quote from Gloria Steinem that seems to fit what’s going on here: “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
Just have to say that I am happy for Annie, who commented above, that she lives in a world where all women always get to “decide” to have sex. Most people do not live in that world.
Great quote from Gloria Steinem fits perfectly what’s going on here: “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”
Thank you Madeline. The Gospel of Thomas has a similar line. It’s something like, “You shall know the truth and the truth will disturb you.”
While I too am disgusted by the actions of these individuals, this is yet another example of how “the discussion” happens and “we, The People” were not even allowed to participate. Because the “arguments were repetitive.,
This is basically the same thing that happened with the anti-gun zealots in New York. Back room deals, late night “emergency session” shenanigans that slammed bad legislation through the system. It is happening on the Democrat side too. Do not fool yourself into thinking that its just Republicans that are doing this.
The thing is, we as Americans need to send a message – this is NOT OK. Enough of this. Enough bill riders and late night deals. WE, the PEOPLE want our rights back.
Thank you Janey.
I’m so thankful for all the work you do Jim! And I’m proud to have known you since UT of A days! Wishing you many blessings!
Hi, Jim. I read this, and it made me think of Ann Richards, and my my right to choose. I wanted to share my story with you. In 2002, I got pregnant after having a little girl a year before. I had to make a difficult choice: keep the baby or have an abortion. I wrestled with this decision. It was the most difficult decision I ever had to make, but I wasn’t alone. The father of my child was with me. We both decided we weren’t ready for a child, and I decided to have an abortion. When I called the clinic, I spoke with the director of the clinic, who knew my decision was gonna be hard. She told me that she would be with me every step of the way, and she was. She was in the room with me during the procedure. She held my hand and prayed with me. I asked God to forgive me what I did, but I knew it was my choice. And that’s the key word here: choice. We have choices in life. Whether agrees with your choices or not, it’s your choice. I am a christian woman. My belief and faith in God is infallible, but I believe in freedom to choose. We may not be able to choose family, but we can choose how we live our lives and what we want in life. I stand with the women of Texas. It’s time to take out the trash. Ann, this one’s for you!!!
Nice one , and you’re right! Let’s go fight for our sisters!
Last night, I saw women in Texas ignored, overlooked, misunderstood, and trod upon. But I saw these women show courage and perseverence. I saw them show passion and deterrmination, and impressive strength and restraint. But most importantly, I saw women AND men determined to stand up to bullies and thugs, and I saw the beginning of a movemen! What a priveledge, and what an amazing sight. We will overcome this twenty-first century nightmare that’s trying to take us back to the early twentieth century. Wake up, ladies! We’re gonna take back what’s OURS to begin with, but not without a FIGHT!