“Should I Have Chicken or Beef, Senator Patrick?”

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Today at their monthly luncheon, members of the Capital Area Democratic Women called Senator Dan Patrick's office on a matter of great importance: should they choose chicken, or beef as their taco filling today?

Sen. Patrick is the battering ram behind SB 16, the Sonogram Bill, which would require women to view a sonogram of the fetus before receiving an abortion. The bill is bad, not only because it patronizes women and implies that they can't handle making their own decisions, but because it creates serious procedural hurdles to a woman accessing her right to choose in Texas. Patrick, along with Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, have decided that forcing a sonogram on an abortion-seeking woman is an issue of utmost importance to Texas, above that of keeping schools open, writing a sane budget, or, you know, keeping the lights on in the State of Texas (meant, sadly, both literally and figuratively now).

From their release:

“We wanted Sen. Patrick to weigh in on what we were having for lunch,” said Genevieve Van Cleve, President of CADW. “The Sonogram Bill is a clear indicator that Sen. Patrick does not trust women to make major life decisions. If we can't be trusted with the big ones, how can be possibly carry on living our lives without government consultation for all the decisions we make every day,” Van Cleve continued.

These women! They just don't know what they want, whether it's pertaining to the contents of their lunch or the contents of their uterus. Thank goodness Senator Dan Patrick is here to help coerce, intimidate, and pressure them during one of the most important decisions they might make today.

Van Cleve made the first call to Patrick's office. The esteemed Senator was too busy to come to the phone, but a legislative staffer selected the beef. Outrageously, even after the call, members of this group (including myself — full disclosure: I'm a dues-paying member) went ahead and chose the chicken filling anyways. The gall of these women, who seem to have their own ideas about what they do with their bodies!

Of course, it seems curious that the Legislature could make such a rash decision affecting the lives of many without adequate input from those affected. Where is the beef from? How thoroughly was the chicken cooked? Is there risk of mad cow, or another prion-based disease? Do any members of the group have a religious reason for selecting one meat over the other? What of vegetarians — are they forced to eat the beef too, even if it violates their own morality?

Now, real conservatives should decry this unnecessary intrusion of government into a woman's taco. Once the government tells you what meat you have to stuff into your shell, then they've basically taken over your whole life.

But then, Sen. Patrick seems to have no problem forcing beef into tacos, or ultrasounds into the hands of pregnant women seeking abortions. And neither does the rest of the Senate State Affairs Committee, which voted 7-1 yesterday in favor of the bill. Soon the Senate as a whole will have a chance to weigh in on their constituents' private medical decisions as well.

Meanwhile, it is unclear if Sen. Patrick will also be filing any mandatory taco-filling bills as well this session, or if Rick Perry will choose to designate beef filling another emergency item requiring immediate attention by the state of Texas. Legislation can be filed until the end of March.


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.


  1. Who will be paying for the sonograms?
    What every tax payer should be asking is, “Who will pay for the sonograms?”.  At a time when we can't pay for text books, we are asked to foot the bill for the sonograms?  

  2. Who will be paying for the sonograms?
    What every tax payer should be asking is, “Who will pay for the sonograms?”.  At a time when we can't pay for text books, we are asked to foot the bill for the sonograms?  

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