Senator's stand a true example of grit, passion
Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis took a stand this week – literally.
The lawmaker stood in filibuster for nearly 11 hours Tuesday night in the Texas Senate in an effort to block a bill that would have essentially closed almost every abortion clinic in the state, according to The Associated Press. It had to be passed by midnight Tuesday in order to make the end-of-session deadline.
The law, Senate Bill 5, would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and it would force clinics that perform abortion to upgrade their facilities to be classified as ambulatory surgical centers. And, according to the AP, doctors would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.
So what, exactly, would that mean? The state is 773 miles wide and 790 miles long and home to 26 million people. If the law had passed, only five of Texas' 42 abortion clinics would have remained in operation, meaning women in need of an abortion would have had to drive hundreds of miles to obtain one.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, noted, “Many women could be forced to resort to dangerous and unsafe measures” should the bill have passed.
So Davis spoke for nearly 11 hours in a filibuster that demanded she remain standing, without leaning against anything, without taking a break – no restroom, no meals – the entire time.
In her opening remarks, she noted, “I'm rising on the floor today to humbly give voice to thousands of Texans who are being ignored.”
Davis had to stay on topic – any straying, and Republicans could call to end the filibuster and call a vote.
According to the AP, lawmakers can vote to end a filibuster after three sustained points of order. Republicans pointed out two issues, and the third sparked nearly two hours of debate on how to proceed.
The Republicans forced a vote to end the filibuster minutes before midnight, and the lawmakers scrambled to get the vote on Senate Bill 5 started before midnight. And late Tuesday night, messages went out that the bill had passed on a 19-10 vote.
And that's where the story should end, but in this case, it just gets more interesting.
According to the AP, official computer records and printouts of the voting records revealed the vote took place on Wednesday, and then were changed to read Tuesday.
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst declared the bill dead at 3 a.m., but Gov. Rick Perry called a 30-day special session of the legislature beginning July 1, which could revive the bill.
When it was all said and done, Davis said, “It shows the determination and spirit of Texas women.”
Indeed it does, senator. Regardless of where one falls on abortion, we find Davis' grit, determination and passion to be amazing. We tip our hat to you, Sen. Davis.