Thomas Roberts   |  June 21, 2013

Hundreds of women flood Texas capitol to protest bill restricting abortion

Over 700 Texans were registered to testify at a hearing on a proposed bill restricting abortion in Texas. MSNBC’s Karen Finney, host of Disrupt, joins Craig Melvin to discuss the latest in the reproduction rights battle.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> sparks flew at the texas state capitol last night when hundreds of women tried testifying against proposed abortion restrictions. according to reports, at least 700 texans were registered to speak on the proposed bill. the overflow crowd, they packed three rooms. republican congressman byron cook told hundreds of women they would not be allowed to testify.

>> when they shut us down in that hearing, they did what we told them they were doing to us. and that was suppressing us, ignoring us.

>> the fact is, there are a lot of people here, and it was taking a long time.

>> the hearing was almost 15 hours long. it continued until the early morning hours without a final decision. msnbc's karen finney joins me live in the garage. let's look at the restrictions of house bill 60 in texas. bans abortions after 20 weeks. requires doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles, requires clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory clinics. regulates how doctors administer pills. some say red tape , and these are not recommended -- medically recommended requirements, as well.

>> well, and --

>> who would this affect most?

>> it would affect the patients the most and further inconvenience patients the most. there are strict guidelines for these clinics. and we're seeing these kinds of proposals crop up in lots of places around the country and the goal is to try to shut them down. when you're talking about doctors administering -- it means you would have to have a democratic tore there with you when you take the morning after pill is basically what they're talking about. you can't trust a woman to follow a prescription? really? come on. and the fact they tried to shut these women down, these women disrupting and i'm proud of them for that, shows they know they've got a problem on their hands. they know that saying an abortion clinic has to have, you know, the doors wide enough for a gurney. right? come on. that's not an effort to actually try to improve anything. that's an effort to shut them down.

>> proponents of the 20-week ban say fetuses can feel pain. this is what texas congressman and former ob-gyn said earlier this week. take a listen.

>> you woman a sonogram of a 15-week baby and they have movements that are purposeful, they stroke their face. if they're a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. they feel pleasure. why is it so hard to think they could feel pain?

>> what's your response to that?

>> you know, he, like a number of men in the caucus, need to go back to seventh grade biology. and we're going to try to help them out with that tomorrow on "disrupt." come on, a fetus masturbating? that's why? again, we know this 20-week ban is aimed at -- they're trying to get a case to the supreme court , because that challenges what is current law. and there are legitimate reasons that there's a very moving piece today in the "new york times" by a woman who had to have an abortion at 23 weeks, and it was a heartwrenching decision. it wasn't something she was wanting to have to do. but it was, you know, what she was having twins. it was a very dramatic story. so time and again, the language we're hearing is so disconnected from the reality of women 's lives, and sort of the reality of what can happen.

>> earlier this week, the texas senate passed a bill that includes many of the same provisions. there was, of course, the bill that passed the u.s. congress , as well. the lower house , at least. what can we make of the timing of all of this? what's behind the timing? or do we know?

>> it's a very concerted effort. i serve on the board of pro choice america, and we have been watching these measures for quite some time. the goal at the federal level and state level, again, is to try to a., shut down women 's rights. but also a legal agenda to get a case to the supreme court and try to directly challenge roe vs. wade. so we have to fight it both on the state level and federal level .

>> "disrupt." every saturday and sunday. what do you have coming up this weekend?

>> a lot of good stuff. we're going to teach folks a little bit about how women 's bodies really work. all right?

>> and you know what, that's a great segue for this. that's going to wrap it up for me. thomas roberts is back. 11:00 eastern. monday