Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims is one of the handful of openly non-religious legislators in the country, and he gave an incredible speech on the House floor yesterday opposing a draconian piece of legislation that would ban abortion after 20 weeks unless it was absolutely medically necessary. (Because Jesus.)
You have to watch this:
Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask and to beg my colleagues to oppose House Bill 1948.
Three years ago, under very similar circumstances, this body took up equally hateful legislation aimed at attacking the Constitution and hurting women. I implored you then as I do now — as an attorney, as a civil rights advocate, and as a legislator that has sworn to uphold the Constitution and not the Bible or any other religious document — to see this legislation for what it actually is: An end around the U.S. Supreme Court and the Constitution that is beneath this body.
In fact, Mr. Speaker, the prime sponsor is unable to answer even basic questions about this bill’s drafting, about the language that was used in it, or the impact it would have on the Commonwealth. That, combined with no public hearings, is literally the opposite of the legislative process. This legislation does nothing to create jobs, does nothing to fill schools, to alleviate economic or financial pressures. It doesn’t fund our infrastructure, support our small businesses, or create a better future for the Commonwealth.
What this bill does is attack the very citizens and voters who created this government.
As Congressman Barney Frank so eloquently put, “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you are probably on the menu.”
Once again, Mr. Speaker, we are confronted with the reality that in a state that is a majority of women, this legislature body that is 82% male will be once again putting women on the menu.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, as I have asked before and I ask again, how could any person charged with upholding the laws of our civil nation believe it to be their duty to subvert those laws and replace them with their own personal interpretation of their own religious ideology?
Legislators like each of us in this room have absolutely no business making personal medical decisions for other people. Virtually every person in this room has had to make a major medical decision for themselves or for a loved one. Now imagine having to come here. Each of you, imagine having to stand at this podium and implore this room to allow you to make a personal medical decision for yourself or for a loved one.
I promise you that not a single one of you would come before this body, and yet we are asking women and doctors in Pennsylvania to have to stand before us and subvert their medical and personal decisions for our own.
It’s a powerful speech from a fantastic progressive legislator.
Interesting note: In that video, State Rep. Kathy Rapp, the main sponsor of the anti-abortion bill, is right behind him, watching and smiling. No wonder. Not long after Sims’ speech, the Republican-led House voted to pass the bill 132-65.
The Senate, which is also dominated by Republicans, will take it up next. But if the bill gets through there, at least there’s a Democrat in the Governor’s office.
(Thanks to Debbie for the link)