Fresh off the triumph of the legislature last night, Texas’ Lt. Governor David Dewhurst joined me earlier today for an exclusive* interview. Dewhurst is obviously delighted with the passage of the late-term abortion ban, although the event itself was “anti-climatic,” Dewhurst says. That hasn’t been true of the overall process, though, and Dewhurst quipped, “Now I know how Scott Walker in Wisconsin felt — I got it, I got it.”
Dewhurst hails the addition of regulations that require abortion clinics to meet the same state standards as all other ambulatory surgical centers. That includes, Dewhurst reminds us, doorways that can fit gurneys, an adequate blood supply in case of unexpected hemorrhaging, and a backup generator in case power goes out in the middle of an abortion, as well as other standards of hygiene and practice. Existing clinics will have until September 2014 to make the construction changes, which Dewhurst believes to be reasonable time frame. “A year is plenty [of] time for these facilities to go ahead and make their changes,” Dewhurst says. “If they’re not going to upgrade their abortion [clinics] to put them at the standard of care, as I said, where you have your child’s tonsils out or cataract surgery, then they don’t deserve to be open.”
Less reasonable, Dewhurst says, were the protesters who tried to hijack and intimidate the legislature once again, failing this time. Dewhurst blames the “international socialists,” the ACLU, MoveOn.org, and Planned Parenthood for the disruptions over the last few weeks, and reluctantly discusses the urine and feces projectiles that some planned to launch at legislators. These groups want to force Texas away from its “very conservative” nature and dumping money in Texas in the effort, which Dewhurst says will only succeed “over my dead, cold political body.”
Dewhurst believes that Gov. Rick Perry will plan a signing ceremony in the next few days, with a significant amount of flourish.
* – Using the media definition of “exclusive,” which is that no other journalists were on the call at the time.