In political systems around the world, constituents usually trust legislators to know about the important matters that shape the laws of their jurisdictions. They don’t have to be subject matter experts, but they should at least take the time to learn basic facts about the bills we trust them to pass, especially when they are the ones proposing them.
It appears that Texas State Representative Dan Flynn, who is affiliated with the Republican Party, is clueless when it comes to the subject of abortion. Granted, knowledge of abortion and other reproductive topics is not a prerequisite for legislators elected to represent the good people of the Lone Star State; however, when you are listed as the co-author of HB2, a bill that seeks to close numerous abortion clinics around Texas, voters expect you to know a bit about how the procedure works.
As can be expected in the United States, HB2 has run into challenges, but it has proven resilient. Many abortion clinics in Texas have closed as a result of this law, which has forced women to seek abortions in contiguous states. Those that challenge HB2 are concerned that its momentum could eventually lead to a complete criminalization of abortion in Texas.
Believe it or not, Texas State Rep. Flynn does not know how abortion works. This much was proven when he appeared on Full Frontal, a current affairs television show hosted by the clever and funny Samantha Bee. It was an embarrassing moment for the lawmaker, but he set himself up for it.
During the interview, Rep. Flynn argued that his bill is providing women with access to safe health care. Samantha Bee asked him to clarify, since closing down clinics can be construed as denying access to health care. Rep. Flynn tried to defend HB2 by explaining that the law does not make abortions illegal per se, it only seeks to guide women to clinics where they can be “cut open” in a safe and healthy manner.
Naturally, Samantha Bee worked her comedienne magic at this moment by playing a clip of the Red Wedding massacre episode of the fantasy series Game of Thrones, and she delivered a punchline about Rep. Flynn growing up in Westeros at a time when abortions were gruesomely performed and women were “cut open.”
Elective abortions are performed without any incisions; these are minimally invasive procedures that go through the cervix with an aspiration device. Patients are only mildly sedated when they go through abortions, and they are able to walk out of the clinics in about 30 minutes.
What is more troubling about Rep. Flynn not being familiar with abortion is that he did not write the bill; he introduced it and sponsored it, but it was actually authored by a special interest lobby. This is a serious concern because special interest groups do not generally represent the views of voters.