Texas Governor Rick Perry issued an executive order today requiring anyone attending tonight's H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks to sign an affidavit claiming abortion is murder.
In a statement released to local media. Perry said the emergency measure was necessary to ensure no state money was spent "entertaining abortionists and other extreme elements."
The new policy will set up police barricades at various points in downtown Austin and in the area surrounding Auditorium Shores. At these checkpoints, residents will be asked to sign a document affirming their "deeply held religious belief that abortion is murder and should be outlawed."
Residents who refuse to sign the document will be turned away and asked to go back to their homes. If they decline to leave the area, police are authorized to make arrests in order to ensure the ideological purity of the fireworks zone.
"For too long hard-working Texas taxpayers have been forced to subsidize the entertainment of abortionists and their supporters," the statement reads, "but under my watch, those days have now ended. Let Texas be an example to America that the pro-life movement is on the march."
Pursuit of Happiness
Texas is undergoing a bitter struggle over abortion and women's reproductive health issues. Its Republican leaders are hoping to enact laws which significantly restrict the ability of the state's abortion clinics, while a counter-effort led by state Sen. Wendy Davis has energized liberals and pro-choice activists.
The battle is complicated by the widely held suspicion that Governor Perry will make another run for the White House in 2016, and critics accuse him of grandstanding in order to further his national ambitions.
This latest move against abortion rights, however, may have gone too far. One provision in the order requires children over the age of 3 to also state their position on abortion before being allowed in, and another directs all proceeds from the parking garages at tonight's event to go directly to the National Right to Life Committee.
Reaction to the order is expected to be fierce and vitriolic, but for Perry the risk of overreach is minimal.
"We have the American people on our side," he says.