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After the first attempt by Texas Republicans to pass an extreme anti-abortion bill failed, Rick Perry called a second special session to try again.  In a statement, he said this:

I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas. Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state. Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn.

I want to talk about that last sentence.  Notice that he lumps together women and unborn fetuses.  The reason Perry feels the need to protect fetuses is because they can’t protect themselves.  Fetuses can’t convey their wants or desires.  Fetuses can’t rationally make the best choices for themselves. Fetuses can’t make or pass legislation that benefit themselves.  And, in Perry’s mind, the same is true of women.

In Perry’s mind, women are similarly in need of protection.  In Perry’s mind, women are incapable of making the right choices about their reproductive health.  In his mind, women can’t advocate for reproductive choice.  In his mind, he has to advocate on behalf of women, because women can’t advocate on their own behalf.

And that’s really what this is about.  Perry believes that women aren’t responsible, intelligent, capable, or mature enough to make their own decisions about their own bodies.  They need Rick Perry to tell them what they can and cannot do, because otherwise Bad Things will happen.  That’s why Rick Perry has to “protect women.”  Not “listen to women.”  Not “treat women as equals.”  He has to protect them, because they’re fragile little flowers without any kind of agency of their own.

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