By Ben Lane, TSB Staff
“It was unlike anything that anyone in the legislature has ever experienced.”
Gov. Rick Perry signed a controversial abortion restrictions bill into law Thursday morning, culminating a long, heated process.
McKinney’s Scott Sanford was in the thick of the contentious debate. He was stationed on the front lines of one of the most heated, politically charged debates in recent memory. Sanford is the Texas State Representative for Texas’ 70th Congressional District and he had a front row seat to the debates, protests, votes, non-votes, chants, fights, and demonstrations in Austin that accompanied the eventual passage of sweeping abortion regulations.
Sanford, who supported the passage of House Bill 2, told TownSquareBuzz.com that these past few weeks in Austin have been unlike anything he’s ever experienced before. “I’ve never been so close to such…well, evil,” Sanford told TSB. “There were people making vile, sadistic, unruly, and threatening comments, saying satanic chants and making vulgar gestures as well.”
Sanford also received a death threat on Twitter during the abortion debate.
Sanford told TSB that any time that he and his fellow supporters of HB2 were faced with people who were “pro-abortion,”,he would instruct them to simply read the bill. “First of all, read the bill,” he would tell them. “Read what the bill does and what it doesn’t do.”
He said that when people did read the bill, many began to agree with the bill’s abortion restrictions. “When people do that (read the bill), they go, ‘This makes sense,’ ” he said. “Even if you’re pro-abortion, which I am not, you don’t want any woman being put in danger.”
Sanford said that he thinks the contentious nature of the abortion debate will be an exception and doesn’t anticipate a repeat of the public outcry in future legislative sessions. “I think that this is going to be an exception, because of the issue,” he said.
“When we had opportunity to challenge people to read the bill, they became much more understanding. They (those in opposition of the bill) tried to frame it as an attack on women. It’s just the opposite. We recognize the responsibility of the state to step up and help these women.”
Sanford, who told TSB that he is anti-abortion, said that he did have some reservations about putting forth a bill that would continue to allow abortions in Texas. “Do you move the ball down the field a little bit or do you only go for touchdowns?,” he said. “If you hold my views on abortion, this bill does move the ball down the field.”
He said that he did have some internal debate about putting forth a bill that would outlaw abortions completely in Texas but realized that a law like that would get struck down quickly by the Supreme Court because of the Roe v. Wade decision. He said that once he was “able to resolve the debate in his mind and heart” he pushed for the current legislation. He said that without the change to Texas’ abortion laws “women would continue to suffer.”
Sanford also said that if the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned in the future, then “maybe” he could foresee a push to outlaw abortion in Texas, but for now he’s happy with the steps that the legislature has taken.