UPDATE: Davis’s filibuster was a success! The bill didn’t pass!!
Remember that crazy abortion bill in Texas that would shut down all but five clinics in the state? Well, thanks to awesome state senator Wendy Davis (D- Fort Worth), there is a chance that the bill will not become law.
Davis has begun a filibuster in order to block the passage of the bill, SB 5. If she can maintain her filibuster until midnight, the bill will not be able to become law. Since the bill was created during a special emergency legislative session that Gov. Rick Perry called, it must be approved during the session, which ends tonight at midnight.
Davis has led several filibusters in the past, including one to block more than $5 billion in cuts to public schools. She said,
The actions intended by our state’s leaders hurt Texas; they hurt Texas women and their families. Their actions undermine the hard work and commitment of fair-minded, mainstream Texas families who want nothing more than to work hard, raise their children, stay healthy and be a productive part of the greatest state in our country. These mainstream families embrace the challenge to create the greatest possible Texas, yet are pushed back and held down by the narrow and divisive interests driving our state’s leaders.
Davis will not be alone in her opposition to the bill. While she will not be allowed to take breaks for meals or to use the restroom or even to lean against the podium, other Democrats have pledged to give her small breaks in speaking by asking questions. In addition, opponents of the bill have pledged to fill the Senate gallery in orange shirts, which they have worn to symbolize their opposition. On Sunday, more than 1,000 orange-clad protestors filled the state house to protest the house’s vote on the bill, ultimately postponing it until 3:30 Monday morning.
SB 5’s attempted path to law has been full of ups and downs in the last few days. Last week, more than 700 Texas conducted a “citizens’ filibuster” of the bill and gave testimony about how the bill would harm them. The filibuster lasted until Friday at midnight, when Rep. Bryon Cook (R-Corsicana) decided that only one more hour of testimony would be allowed due to its “repetitive” nature. On Sunday, during debate over an amendment that would add an exception for rape and incest, SB 5’s sponsor, Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker) said that hospital rape kits are the same thing as abortions:
In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits, where a woman can get cleaned out.
Rape kits, in fact, collect evidence in sexual assault cases and have nothing to do with abortion. Add in Sunday’s orange-shirt protests and Davis’s filibuster and it becomes clear how much Texans do not want SB 5 to pass.
At this point, Davis has just hours until the bill will be blocked in becoming law. While Perry could call another special legislative session if Davis is successful in blocking SB 5, keeping an anti-choice bill from passing in Texas would make a huge statement. Fingers crossed that Davis makes it!
Photo of Sen. Wendy Davis from her official website