If you're wondering who exactly put forward the current bill in Texas that's led to a rather embarrassing turn in the national spotlight, look no further than Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, a Republican lawmaker who has served District 89 of the Texas House since 2003.
Laubenberg, with two Republican colleagues, introduced SB5 in the first special session and has become the face of the pro-life contingent currently shoving the legislation through as quickly and quietly as possible.
Despite Laubenberg's loud declarations of support for the "unborn" and support for "women's health", her recent record on life issues and knowledge of reproductive health leaves much to be desired. A few facts:
1. By now, you may have heard Laubenberg honestly believed rape kits are used by medical professionals to perform abortions. No joke. And this wasn't two decades ago. She stated this last month on the floor of the Texas House on the very bill she has championed. Politifact has an excellent summary of it here.
2. In 2007, incredibly, Laubenberg proposed an amendment to an appropriations bill that would require expectant mothers to wait three months before receiving prenatal and perinatal care under the state's CHIP or Children's Health Insurance Program. When asked for her reasoning, Laubenberg replied, "But they're not born, yet."
3. Texas has more than 1.1 million children without health care insurance, more than the entire populations of six separate states in the country. For a Republican-led legislature that prides itself on "pro-life" values, this present an obvious image problem, which is why a 2009 bipartisan bill to increase the eligibility for children covered under the state's Children's Health Insurance Program received overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle, except for several dozen lawmakers who voted against it, including Laubenberg.
4. Oh, and actually, she also voted against this bill expanding children's health care in 2007, which received even more support from the Republican-dominated Texas House. How much support? More than 88% of members voted for it.
5. Pertaining to the incident in #2, Laubenberg gets quite angry when she's called out on her ridiculousness. Fast-forward to the 3:30 mark, sit back, and enjoy.