Texas rules must be man-made

Published 12:13 am Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pro- and anti-abortion activists filled the Texas state Capitol Friday afternoon.

The abortion rights advocates wore orange and held gynecological devices and signs. Anti-abortion advocates dressed in blue and carried images of fetuses and Bible verses, The Associated Press reported.

You might recall that the Texas fight gained national attention two weeks ago when state Sen. Wendy Davis successfully filibustered for 11 hours against a bill setting new restrictions on abortion procedures in Texas. Sen. Davis became a national name, and her bladder the envy of many a female.

Friday was the follow-up.

This column is not about the debate, but about the debacle created by the Texas Department of Public Safety, which was searching civilians as they entered the statehouse.

Guns are allowed there. On Friday, two items my mother could only bring herself to call “things ladies use,” tampons and pads, were not. In her day, the pharmacy kindly wrapped them in discreet brown paper. There was nothing discreet at the Texas statehouse Friday.

Officers clarified that the list of items not permitted in the gallery was not new and that the confiscations were an effort to maintain the “rules of decorum.” Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said that law enforcement would “clear the gallery” if chaos erupted during the debate.

“We’re going to have strict enforcement. If there are any demonstrations, we are going to clear the gallery,” Dewhurst said Thursday. “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.”

Nothing I read made me think that women had threatened to throw the relatively soft objects from the galleries. But guns were allowed. And there are lots of stories about people using guns in protest of abortion.

Besides, no woman I know ever flaunted the fact that she had “things ladies use” in her purse, but a whole lot of them went to great lengths to hide the fact that they did.

I mean think about it. Would you rather get shot or have a lightweight, soft object packaged in pink sail toward you from the balcony? Lipstick is more dangerous, for goodness sake.

Late in the afternoon, the Huffington Post reported, the Texas Department of Public Safety reversed course and stopped confiscating the items.

But not before the story went viral and made Texas look, well, ridiculous.

It’s OK to pack heat but not hygiene? I’d like to have a word with the men who made these rules.