So Did Pro-Choice Protesters REALLY Bring Feces and Urine to the Texas Capitol?

The blogosphere went wild last Friday when it was discovered that Texas Department of Public Safety troopers were confiscating tampons from women trying to watch the final Senate debate on extreme anti-abortion legislation at the Capitol in Austin. Then DPS officials said they had also stopped citizens from bringing more than a dozen containers with “suspected” feces and urine inside the Capitol. Religious-right groups and politicians latched on to that claim in their efforts to attack pro-choice activists. “My constituents don’t bring feces, urine, used tampons and bricks to throw at DPS,” state Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, said in one sneering tweet.

But did pro-choice activists really try to bring containers of feces and urine into the Capitol to throw at DPS troopers (or anybody else)?

Today state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, posted on Facebook her concerns about the claim:

Interesting. I sent a letter to DPS on July 15 in an effort to get more information regarding the report of suspected urine/feces being brought to the capitol during the hearing on HB2. Though KVUE reports that they received DPS’ response to my letter yesterday, I have yet to receive the response myself. This is the closing statement in my letter: “I am troubled that inaccurately distributed information may unfairly and unfavorably portray the thousands of citizens who legitimately and lawfully exercised their right of democratic participation–particularly since no evidence has been shown to substantiate the allegations related to these ‘suspicious jars.’”

The Texas Tribune has more about the DPS response to Rep. Howard’s letter:

In a letter to state Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said that some visitors to the Senate gallery did attempt to bring jars of feces and urine inside during Friday’s debate on an omnibus abortion bill.

McCraw’s letter is a response to one that Howard sent Monday, in which she asked, among other things, for documentation of the actions. In response to that specific query, McCraw says that suspicious items were not confiscated and that people could store them outside the gallery or throw them in trash bags.

DPS did not take the names of anyone caught trying to bring feces, urine or other forbidden items inside the gallery, the letter reads, because “no crime had been committed, and it would be unreasonable to document names of visitors based on what they might or might not do.”

DPS officers interviewed by The Texas Tribune on Friday said they had not seen any feces or urine themselves, with several saying the interview was the first time they had heard of people trying to bring either item inside the gallery.

So let’s see if we’ve got this right. DPS troopers suspected that numerous people were trying to sneak bodily wastes into the Capitol to protest legislation, but they arrested no one and kept no evidence? Really? (And we’ve seen no evidence that backs up Rep. Toth’s claim that protesters brought those and other things into the Capitol to throw at DPS troopers.)

DPS troopers have been praised for their efforts to maintain order and protect visitors and lawmakers during last week’s emotion-filled protests and debate. We join others in applauding them. Our experience was that troopers largely acted professionally in a tense environment. If some individuals did plan to attack DPS troopers (or anyone else) with bodily wastes, bricks or whatever, that would be deplorable.

But like Rep. Howard, we’re troubled by the lack of evidence behind these charges. If there’s evidence to back up these claims, we will join others in condemning those who are guilty. But some on the right are using these unsubstantiated claims to discredit and defame the many citizens who were lawfully speaking out against government restrictions on the ability of women to decide whether and when to have children. That’s also deplorable.

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19 Comments

  1. Jessie Riley
    Posted July 31, 2013 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    I was there, starting at 3am. All day. I did see a conspiracy of epic proportions by DPS & Dewdewhurst to fill the gallery with forced birthers & full on haras pro choice/ orange shirts. They cracked Joshua Pinedas skull and tazed him after he was unconscious. There were troopers with riot gear. It was insane and there was NO forces, urine or used tampons. Whatever you think happened at the Austin Capitol- here to tell you it was so much worse than you think.

  2. EarlMoray
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Couple other things. Bringing jars of feces or urine to capital is illegal. And reports of bricks were circulating too. All very arrestable things…not that that matters. Lots of arrests were made without anyone breaking the law. Sarah Slamen was dragged out of testifying and removed from the building and she did nothing wrong.

    So, bullshit, bullshit and bullshit.

    Also, tons of picks of confiscated items were taken. The Texas Tribune and Burnt Orange Report have pics on their live blogs of the day in question. And there are hundreds more pics and thousands of stories on social media. No one captured anything. And let’s not forget, conservatives were jumping on everything, including their horror that a young girl saw (and touched!) an unused, wrapped tampon.

    So, more bullshit.

    Also, TXDps did a piss poor job of removing things. Chains to chain yourself to balcony? Sure, why not. Tampons? No. Candy? No. Even for diabetics? No. Water and snacks? No. Even for ppl fasting? No. But, if you had a concealed carry permit, security was super short and all you had to do was show permit.

    TexasDPS and GOP lawmakers acted shamefully. And then they followed it up by subpoenaing twitter account covering event because of “terrorism”.

    Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.

  3. Beverly Kurtin
    Posted July 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    There WAS a smell of feces coming from the wrong wing legislators. I cannot fathom why men think they can control what women can and cannot do. One state’s abortion clinics had to close because of the size of their PARKING LOT!
    There is an answer: Get more women to run for office and get them elected. Me? Nope, too old and in too much chronic pain, but I’d love to see my hero, Wendy Davis in the Governor’s seat.
    Abortion is a Constitutionally protected right. That means that millions of our tax dollars are going to be spent on lawsuits that will overturn those odious state “laws.”

    I had to laugh out loud when I heard that Perry wasn’t going to risk losing an election by bowing out 18 months before the next election. That’s typical of a coward.

  4. Posted July 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    It isn’t true. I was in the extension when I heard the reports and I thought it was true so I went up to DPS and asked them about it. They looked at me like they were shocked and said “We haven’t heard anything like that…” Funny, the report came out an hour or so after the internet went nuts because they were stealing our tampons. It was a farce to take the heat off of what they did

  5. Posted July 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    with ten thousand people, there is bound to be a couple of bad actors, which there were on BOTH SIDES

  6. Gary
    Posted July 18, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I believe that Steve Toth’s constituents didn’t bring “feces, urine, used tampons and bricks to throw at DPS.”

    I just don’t believe that anyone else did that, either.

  7. Jim Ramsey
    Posted July 18, 2013 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Hmmm, dumping feces on the Senate floor.

    Given the recent activities of the Senate, how would anyone notice?

  8. Posted July 17, 2013 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    Where is their “moral compass”?

  9. Charles
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    I suspect that extreme right Texas Republicans use the new laxative “Fece-Ease”

  10. Howard
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like a case of malfeces.

  11. Pete Rogan
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    It’s the perfect plausible deniability. We KNOW “some” people were bringing in filth to throw, but our security worked so well they never got a chance. The mind reels to consider all the substances that “some” people “could” have brought to the State House but “were prevented” from flinging — from washing machines to screaming Islamic fanatics to equine byproducts. Anything and everything could be claimed to have been an avoided danger. What more could you ask for?

  12. Chris Greene
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    I was one of the spectators in the gallery. If any feces or urine had been found in bags of people trying to enter the gallery we ALL would have known. The troopers emptied our bags in front of everybody, with news cameras just a few feet away. Believe me, if someone in an orange shirt had been carrying any of these items the people in the blue shirts would have been singing a chorus about it.

  13. Swinedance
    Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Now this whole allegation is ridiculous. Why would the protesters want to put more feces on the senate floor. That would give the Republicans even more of a majority.

    • Charles
      Posted July 17, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      Said like a true Samuel Adams. Congratulations. Go have a good beer courtey of Sam.

  14. Posted July 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    According to the article none of the DPS saw anything of the sort.

  15. Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    I do not believe that any evidence has been offered upon the validity of the claim.

  16. Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    No they did not. The feces was inside the Capitol.

  17. Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I’d want to be sure the person wasn’t a plant, even if it did occur.

  18. Posted July 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    No. That would be stupid.

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