Don't expect Democrats in the Texas Legislature to be in any mood to cooperate with Republicans as the Special Session draws to a close, after Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst's office sent out a mocking tweet celebrating the fact that an abortion bill passed by the Senate will lead to the closure of abortion clinics, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"When I read that, in spite of the fact that I already believed that that was the case, I felt this was a purposeful deception that was being employed," State Sen. Wendy David (D-Ft. Worth), a potential Democratic contender for Governor in 2014 told 1200 WOAI news.
Senators Tuesday approved a series of measures Tuesday night which they said were to make sure abortion clinics meet strict cleanliness restrictions and to make sure that physicians are on scene at the clinics at all times. Republicans said the measure were to 'protect the health and safety of women' at the clinics.
But Dewhurst last night Tweeted a map which was provided by Democrats showing the locations of 80% of the state's abortion clinics which will be forced to close under the bill and wrote "we fought to pass this through the Senate and this is why!"
Amy Miller, CEO of Whole Women's Health, an abortion services provider, isn't surprised.
"They think this is funny, I think they're amused by it," she said. "They are so disconnected from the majority of Texans, who remain pro choice."
Dewhurst has been struggling to regain his conservative credentials since he was trounced in the 2012 U.S. Senate Republican primary by Tea Party darling Ted Cruz. Dewhurst is facing at least two prominent and well funded challengers next year, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.
But State Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) says burnishing his conservative street cred this way is not helpful, especially with abortion and the critical issue of highway funding still on the table. The Special Session is set to end on Monday.
"The tweet confirms what we have all said," Uresti said. "My exact words were, your theme was improving health care for women, but this bill will have the opposite effect, shutting down these clinics."