Sarah Slamen's passionate testimony against an anti-abortion bill in front of the Texas state Senate was cut off earlier this week, when the Republican presiding over the proceedings ordered her to be removed from the room. If the goal was to silence her, it has clearly failed.
Since delivering part of her late-Monday takedown of legislation that would restrict abortions after 20 weeks and close most abortion clinics in Texas, Slamen has been on a tear, giving interviews and making sure the message she had intended to give gets delivered. On Wednesday night, she appeared on MSNBC's "The Last Word," where host Lawrence O'Donnell gave her a chance to finish the testimony that was unceremoniously abbreviated.
Watch Slamen finish her testimony above, or watch the whole segment below for more:
"What I would say to all of the Republicans on the Senate Health & Human Services Committee is that I understand why you are so careless with our health care," Slamen said. "You see, all of your constituency lies east of I-35, where the five clinics remaining after that bill gets passed will be. None of your constituents are west of I-35, so I guess their lives and families just don't matter to you."
Slamen also explained that she had finally reached her "breaking point" after watching hours of testimony from anti-abortion witnesses who had either provided medically unsound testimony, or suggested that pro-choice women were "murderers, killers, insinuating that we're promiscuous." The real turn came when one witness came to the stand to explain the difficult decision of aborting her pregnancy after finding out that her unborn child had a rare form of spina bifida. An anti-choice person next to her interjected and said that she'd known children with spina bifida who had been adopted. The interruption was not called out as a breach of Senate decorum.
The decision to have her dragged out of the room was indicative of a larger issue of Republicans not wanting to hear the facts, Slamen told O'Donnell. She said the demographics of the witnesses were a function of a number of socioeconomic factors.
"I'm privileged as a white woman from a middle-class background to be able to have attended all of those hearings," she said. "Women with two and three jobs, the 20 percent of women who might be living in the rural communities of Texas who can't get to the capitol, caregivers, they can't get to the hearings and stand up for their rights, and it's obvious that all the Republicans on that committee don't care about the right to their health care either. So someone had to say something."
Slamen said she thought her actions, both from Monday and since the now-famous incident, were indicative of a growing trend.
"Women all over the world are socialized to suppress their dissent, be agreeable, ask for what should rightfully be ours," she said, going on to note that women were finally getting "tired of it," especially in Texas' male-dominated legislature.
Despite the vocal backlash over Texas' anti-abortion bill, lawmakers in the state House have already passed it. The state Senate is expected to follow suit on Friday.