Something incredibly special happened in Texas last night and we all owe Wendy Davis and the brave people who came out to support her a big debt of gratitude.
The GOP-dominated Texas State House voted to pass a bill that would severally restrict women’s rights by banning abortions after 20 weeks and imposing much stricter regulations for providers, resulting in the demise of all but 5 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics.
Starting just after 11AM on Tuesday, Democratic Senator Wendy Davis, sporting now-famous pink sneakers, began a 13 hour-long filibuster with the support of hundreds of feminist activists who had gathered at the Texas State Capital in Austin to back her up.
However, just minutes before the midnight deadline, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst upheld a challenge to the filibuster after Republicans alleged that Davis had veered off topic (supposedly her 3rd violation of the rules), and moved for an immediate vote to end the filibuster, thus paving the way for Senate Bill (SB 5) to be passed. Hundreds of protesters erupted in outrage, making it impossible for lawmakers to take a vote.
After some order had been restored to the chamber, Republicans tried to squeeze in vote at the last minute, but it was later deemed they missed the deadline and the anti-choice measure had officially not passed.
Of course, this is just the beginning. Gov. Perry may decide to call a special session to vote on Senate Bill (SB 5) anyway. But, isn’t it thrilling to know that even in a state we view as very conservative, like Texas, those fighting for women refuse to let the GOP bully their rights away? I certainly think so.
Watch a report from CBS News about Senator Wendy Davis’s monumental filibuster: