Texas Senator Wendy Davis filibusters to block abortion bill

She started this morning.

At 11:18 this morning, State Senator Wendy Davis took to the floor of the Texas State Senate, beginning a filibuster that Democrats hope will stop the passage of a bill that targets abortion rights in the state. Senator Davis wore pink tennis shoes, ready for the almost 13 hours she must continue speaking to keep Republicans from calling for a vote.

She can’t sit down. She can’t leave to pee.

That makes Senator Davis a lonely combatant in the War on Women. She alone must continue to speak until midnight tonight, when the 30 day special session will expire, along with the abortion bill. Senator Davis says she plans to read the stories of women and their doctors who would be adversely affected by the new restrictions into the record.

The Dems chose her because she was a teenage mother herself.

Strength to your sword arm voice, legs, and bladder, Senator!

Update: the livestream.


  1. beardymcviking says

    Wow, quite literally ‘taking a stand’. I hope she (and her pink tennis shoes) succeeds 🙂

    Go Wendy!

  2. Pteryxx says

    The Senate voted along partisan lines to give Davis a second warning because another Senator helped her adjust her back brace. Third warning breaks her filibuster. Now she has to go another 4.5 hours without touching her desk, looking like she might be touching her desk, giving testimony that the other side can argue isn’t on-topic enough, or running out of testimony to give.

    Policing a woman’s behavior, gestures, health, and words, to force through a bill to deny abortions.

  3. Stevarious, Public Health Problem says

    Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) pointed out a bit ago that the rules specifically say ““may not lean on his desk, his chair” and that therefore the rule does not actually apply to Sen. Davis.”

  4. brucegee1962 says

    There doesn’t seem to be anything about this at all on the main NBC News page. What is wrong with these journalists? Just in terms of drama and human interest, you’d think everyone would be on this!

  5. Pteryxx says

    Wendy Davis is trending worldwide on Twitter, has the top hashtag, there are 28K viewers on the youtube livestream… and nothing from mainstream media except a half-assed NYT blog post and a couple of mentions on Rachel Maddow.




    MorteDeMocknbrd ‏@MorteDeMocknbrd 28s

    RT @ProgressTX BOOM! Wendy Davis is trending WORLDWIDE! #SB5 #txlege #StandWithWendy http://bit.ly/17dbenO

  6. dustbunny says

    brucegee1962, this just now from the Barack Obama twitter account:

    Something special is happening in Austin tonight: OFA.BO/CBZ6c7 #StandWithWendy

    Maybe that will help with the media paying attention!

    Also, I think it’s kind of sad that actions like this seem to be the only way now to stop bills of this kind, since reasoned debate is no longer possible…

    Three hours to go…

  7. Pteryxx says

    Now Texas senate trying to play the off-topic card for a third strike.


    ProfB ‏@AntheaButler 5m

    If you have to have the sonogram before the abortion, it relates to the abortion bill, damn it Rep. Tx Senators are trying EVERYTHING. #dumb
    Retweeted by Jennifer Gunter
    Becca Aaronson Becca Aaronson ‏@becca_aa 6m

    .@WendyDavisTexas argues #AbortionSonogram law germane b/c #SB5 provisions would be stacked on top further reducing access to #abortion
    Retweeted by Jennifer Gunter

  8. Pteryxx says

    Speaker tried to unilaterally call a third strike – now the other senators are calling him on it. Democratic senator Van de Putte (who just rushed in from her father’s funeral) holding him to a recounting of the previous two strikes.


    Cliff Pervocracy ‏@pervocracy 14m

    Seriously, are women’s lives hinging on a “keep the senate dicking around for 100 more minutes” game?

    Ana Mardoll Ana Mardoll ‏@AnaMardoll

    That is precisely what is happening. Women will live or die on this. @pervocracy @kristinrawls

  9. Pteryxx says

    (posted also at Pharyngula)

    Looks like they’re clearing the gallery completely, and word is one woman’s been arrested.


    BuzzFeed News ‏@BuzzFeedNews 5m

    BREAKING: Republicans pass new restrictions expected to close almost every abortion clinic in Texas, @AP is now reporting

    (Oh sure, NOW the media covers it. *spits* )


    BuzzFeed News ‏@BuzzFeedNews 4m

    The official Senate computer says there was a vote, 17-12 to pass #SB5 – Dems say it was after midnight, @cltomlinson reports


    BuzzFeed News ‏@BuzzFeedNews 1m

    RT @TumaTime: So Dan Patrick just told us #SB5 passed 19-10. I asked if it bothered him that no one heard. He said well, the Senators heard.

  10. Robert B. says

    From what I can see, the clock ran out but the Republicans are trying to vote anyway?

    Who actually enforces a legislature’s procedural rules? If the majority of a legislature tries to do something that is, according to the body’s own parliamentary procedure, invalid, who stops them?

  11. Pteryxx says

    Robert B: word is, someone would have to file a lawsuit and get the legislation that came out of this mess overturned. Until then, it’d still be law… plenty of time to enforce it and shut those clinics down.

    CBS News and the AP, so ostentatiously silent while this filibuster was going on, leaped in at midnight to declare the abortion restrictions passed. Even though reporters on the floor are saying the senators leaving aren’t sure if there was a legal vote or what they even voted ON.

  12. dustbunny says

    Robert, not ‘trying to,’ they voted. And the bill passed.

    They started the vote at 12.01 am, but it got logged as 11.59pm to make it “legal.” Reporters are all over social media confirming it was after midnight, but Lt. Gov. Dewhurst is still claiming it was just before…

    In any case, anyone still voting GOP after this disgusting display will feel my (verbal) wrath!

  13. carlie says

    It played out so symbolically – it started with one woman who would not sit down and not be quiet. When she was silenced, it was taken up by her colleagues, and when they were silenced, it was taken up by the people. It was amazing to watch.

    Not to mention how purely, obviously evil her opponents were, nitpicking procedural rules to the point of trying to use her adjustment of a back brace as a reason to make her stop, trying to actually change the time stamp of the vote to make it legal. If this bill had been about anything other than abortion, Disney would have a movie made about it coming out by next summer.

  14. says

    Glad this worked out in the end. I do wonder, though, does the wording of the filibuster regulations mean that a Senator who uses a wheelchair or other similar assistive device is not allowed to filibuster? That seems… discriminatory.

  15. dustbunny says

    It’s not over yet… Perry has already called for another special session to push this bill through saying that “Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn.”

    Do they honestly believe themselves when they say they value life and want to protect women, or are they just hoping that there will be enough gullible people duped into thinking that they believe it…?

  16. says

    Well they have in mind a very special meaning of “protect” – they mean “protect women from the awful fate of having the ability to decide when to have children and when not to.”

  17. says

    It’s not over yet… Perry has already called for another special session to push this bill through saying that “Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn.”

    Hm. I assume they’ll try to rig things so the filibuster trick won’t work the next time. It really pisses me off that women in Texas are reduced to having to defend their basic human rights by parliamentary rules munchkinry.

  18. dustbunny says

    Ophelia, #29:

    Well they have in mind a very special meaning of “protect”

    Ah, but of course. It makes me so angry that the religious right has managed to frame the discussion in terms of “women’s safety” for this kind of legislation. Is this really just the result of the Tea Partiers being voted in in 2010, or can we expect this to last for a long time?

    Anne, #30:

    It really pisses me off that women in Texas are reduced to having to defend their basic human rights by parliamentary rules munchkinry.

    Me too! When I was watching the live stream yesterday, I thought how sad it was that Davis had to resort to this because reasonable discussion about abortion is no longer possible in this country. There are many things I love about living in Tennessee, but as for being valued as a human being, I miss Europe…

  19. dustbunny says

    Oh, and by the way, Gov. Perry made those comments about valuing life and protecting women on the very same day that Texas had its 500th execution, in which they put to death 52-year-old Kimberly McCarthy.

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