During a hearing on three anti-abortion bills in Texas on Wednesday, a Republican senator broke a glass tabletop while banging a gavel to stop a woman from continuing her pro-choice testimony.
Cosmopolitan reports that Maggie Hennessy, a 24-year-old intern for NARAL Pro-Choice, was giving a two-minute speech during the hearing when Senator Charles Schwertner gave her a verbal warning that she was about to go over her time limit. As she wrapped up the speech, which went over the limit by mere seconds, Schwertner banged his gavel over a glass tabletop, shattering it.
NARAL Texas communications director Alexa Garcia-Ditta was watching from the gallery and took a photo of the table.
According to Cosmo, Hennessy was testifying against SB 415, a bill that would limit doctors' ability to perform dilation and evacuation, a common abortion procedure. As she urged lawmakers to "stop playing with women’s health care as if it’s your own political puppet," Schwertner hammered his gavel into the table.
To make matters worse, a few minutes later, he allowed the president of the anti-abortion Texas Alliance for Life lobby group to extend his testimony without interruption. When others' statements went over the allotted time, he warned them by repeatedly thanking them for their testimony.
“I don’t know why he banged [the gavel] so aggressively,” Hennessy told Cosmo. “He just clearly was rattled by it.”
Schwertner’s chief of staff told Cosmo that the senator broke the table accidentally, that he was trying “to run an orderly meeting,” and “the reality is he’s got a little gavel block, and he hit the glass instead of hitting the sounder.”
Earlier this week, an Australian politician was silenced by a male colleague during her pro-choice speech, prompting an epic eye-roll that we're recycling for this moment.