UPDATED: Wendy Davis's Abortion Filibuster Brings Laughter from Republicans, and History to Capitol

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We'll see you in 2014, Sen. Davis.
UPDATED: After 12.5 hours of filibuster, a trio of controversial points of order, and one of the most sustained shows of political passion the state has seen in years, the Texas Senate failed to pass Senate Bill 5 Tuesday night. After departing shortly after midnight without a clear ruling, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst returned to the floor at 3 a.m. to announce the final decision on the bill, which would have shuttered nearly 90 percent of the abortion clinics in the state. "Regrettably, the constitutional time expired," Dewhurst told reporters.

Dewhurst took three hours to strike his gavel for a handful of reasons. After the points of order against Sen. Wendy Davis, whose filibuster was viewed by nearly 200,000 people via a live stream online, were sustained -- including one from Sen. Tommy Williams complaining about the implementation of Davis's back brace -- Sens. Kirk Watson, Judith Zaffirini, and Leticia Van De Putte sustained discussion until approximately 11:50 p.m. A frustrated Van De Putte then addressed Dewhurst: "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?"

The comment roused the hundreds thronging the rafters, who began a series of cheers and applause that, for the next 15 minutes, drowned any attempt to allow a vote to come forward. Chants of "WEN-DY, WEN-DY!" rang through the halls, leading Dewhurst, at one point, to promise that the vote would be suspended if order could be returned. But it would be to no avail -- the crowd, draped in the orange swaths of support, did not let up until minutes after the midnight deadline.

There are early reports that certain within the Texas Legislature attempted to change the time-stamp recording the procedures, showing that no procedures had actually taken place Wednesday. (A side-by-side comparison can be viewed here.) However, until further investigation comes -- and with nearly 200,000 people viewing the proceedings, and all they entailed -- Texas is left with a dead bill, a successful filibuster, and one of the most impressive shows of political fortitude of this generation. The support, as Davis said afterward, "shows the determination and spirit of Texas women and people who care about Texas women."

ORIGINAL POST: At 11:18 a.m. on Tuesday, Wendy Davis, a state senator out of Fort Worth, stood up on the floor of the capitol. Holding a microphone, wearing a long white sweater and a pair of bright pink Mizuno sneakers, she looked across her dais, and she began to speak. And she intended to continue for 13 hours more, so that 88 percent of Texas's abortion clinics aren't shut down in 2013.

Davis's stand, which can be viewed live here, is one of the more improbable and impressive moves not simply within recent Texas political history, but within 21st century American politics. The modern filibuster, as we're sure you're aware, has turned into one of the cheapest political tricks this side of proposed Voter ID regulations. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell passes notification of filibuster, leading any proposed legislation, sans a super-majority of 60 votes of support within the United States Senate, to crumble. The filibuster has turned into the tactic of the weak, the meek, and those who would seek to block legislation through minority sleight-of-hand.

Of course, this was not how our constitutional authors, whether federally or state-wide, intended the filibuster to exist. It was not meant to be but a slip of paper and a slow nod of the head. It wasn't meant to allow a super-minority to turn its chamber into the least productive member of society. It wasn't meant to be a bullshit run-around that can stymie even the most obvious legislation.

Which is why Davis's stand is so impressive, and so pertinent. Davis is channeling a finer version of the filibuster. Rather than tossing her Mizunos and sliding a print of notification to her colleagues, Davis is standing there, stark, running with as many statistics and anecdotes and trends and tales as she can. She's offering herself, directly, viscerally, so that women in Texas will be allowed to obtain abortions after 20 weeks, as they've been constitutionally allowed. Davis is putting on the greatest show of a potential gubernatorial candidate, in this or any state, that we've seen since Rand Paul's anti-drone diatribe earlier this year. (Of course, Paul's sights were set on the White House, but the parallels remain.)

This is how a filibuster was meant to be. We're supposed to see Davis's tears while she reads the tales of women, of constituents, who'd undergone abortions. We're supposed to witness the juxtaposition of Davis and those who support Senate Bill 5 -- those like Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and State Senator Jane Nelson -- who feel their time's better spent laughing than listening. We're supposed to follow the trajectory of Davis's words, the ones she's publicizing for all of us, and the reactions of the hundreds packing the rafters, a sea of rippling, mesmerized burnt orange.


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127 comments
AnalHerpes
AnalHerpes

Wendy Davis is an embarrassment to our state and an idiot. Abortion at 20+ weeks? She must enjoy getting scraped.

CommonSense
CommonSense

Are we out of our mind? are you really celebrating the massive murdering of unborn babies? can you get to your senses? really, a little bit of common sense would be enough! don't you think it is ironic that all the proabortion voices are alive? would you vote for your own death if you were in your mother's womb? if so, why are you still breathing?

dimpls1
dimpls1

Birth Control should be in the water, and a woman should have to go to the doctor to get a prescription in order to get pregnant.

Noelle A. Perry
Noelle A. Perry

texas is a purple state, buddy. sorry to break it to you.

susanelliott
susanelliott

Wendy Davis is a hero in the first degree, anyone who can not see that is either blind or a republican...wait there is no such thing as a republican who isn't blind to justice, personal rights or freedom for americans, citizens or not.


Diana Donath
Diana Donath

The guy is an idiot, Noelle. We all know Wendy is fighting for what's right.

Noelle A. Perry
Noelle A. Perry

you're not even reading my words. EXCEPT IN CASES OF RAPE AND INCEST, THE FATHER [unless he removes himself from the equation, as unfortunately many do] SHOULD - REPEAT, SHOULD - HAVE A SAY IN THE DECISION, BUT NOT THE FINAL SAY. if the father leaves after finding out that he got a woman pregnant, IMO he forfeits his say in the decision. and maybe you just phrased that badly, but let's spell it out just in case: a rapist should NEVER get a say in this decision. NEVER. there are tens of thousands of children in the foster care system RIGHT NOW. and that's just in the US. if "adoption is the answer", go adopt a child right now.

David Aulds
David Aulds

Your victory will be short because Perry will call them back into session and this won't stand. This is TEXAS not freaking California!!!

David Aulds
David Aulds

Are you aware of the studies researchers how done with regard to ABORTION and WOMEN? After Abortion many women can't have children anymore and still more women fall into DEEP DEPRESSION!!! Its not just that MURDERING A CHILD is evil and bad its that everyone involved is affected in some way. So get off your high horse and learn all the facts. Stop being an ignorant PSMNBC talking head!!!

Diana Donath
Diana Donath

All unmarried men should have their junk chopped off or rendered inactive through chemical processes until such time they are ready to marry & lawfully fulfill their obligation as a father... then, they get their ability to perform sex back. Since they can't control themselves, we'll do it for 'em. Hypothetically, that just got voted into law by a majority of .. not men, but women... how does that sit with you? WE are the majority. We should just vote to fix YOU. Btw: You have no idea how much I love all life. But, I the rights to MY body are mine alone. End.of.story.

Diana Donath
Diana Donath

Says whom, David? Religious doctrines & beliefs are prohibited by law to enter into political processes & decisions in the US... thankfully & and for good reason. MEN (many of whom I respect & cherish) are prone to violence & lack of self-control. There are SO MANY heinous crimes committed by men daily that the few that can be covered are squeezed into the backs of newspapers & sprinkled throughout with the car & furniture ads & barely touched on in the television news... just too numerous. If a woman does something similar .. just one woman.. it is national, if not WORLD news. You worry about you & you'll have enough to concern yourself with.

David Aulds
David Aulds

ADOPTION is the answer not murder!!! Also a father or man should have a say in ALL CASES not just incest and rape.

Noelle A. Perry
Noelle A. Perry

actually, no. i never said that it's only my decision. i believe that except in cases of rape or incest, the father should have a say in the decision, but it is ultimately up to the woman because it's her body. what you may not realize [because it doesn't support your worldview] is that many women who get abortions for non-medical reasons [because they can't support a child] do so because once the father finds out he's going to be a father, he skips out. also, thank you for telling me i can't enjoy sex. that's awesome.

Jane Says
Jane Says

Awesome job! Wendy. I soooo agree. This is a freakin matter of choice! Dont tell me what I can't do. I'm a Christian that believes in choice!

David Aulds
David Aulds

Oh Nicky trying to score points are we?

David Aulds
David Aulds

It does take 2 Noelle and that's my point!!! YOU and other women keep saying its YOUR BODY and YOUR DESICION but that's BS and you know it. You can't have it both ways as in have sex enjoy it but then MURDER A CHILD because its inconveinate. The decision belongs to both the man and the women not just the women.

Noelle A. Perry
Noelle A. Perry

i love the "keep your legs closed" argument. i'll keep my legs closed when you keep it in your pants, david. or did you forget that baby-makin' takes a man and a woman?

David Aulds
David Aulds

Diana I know this may be hard to understand but try and listen ok, once you and a man engage in the sexual act that man has an equal decision in the outcome of that child's life!!! You can shout all you want about how ITS YOUR BODY AND YOUR DECISION but its yours and his. If you don't want to be pregnant here's a action you can follow....KEEP YOUR PANTS ON!!!!

David Aulds
David Aulds

She stood on her feet for 10 hours TO PROMOTE MURDER, there is nothing heroic about that at all!!!

Sammi Lu
Sammi Lu

I'm cheering for the woman who committed to standing on her feet for 10+ hrs so that women across Texas have the right to choose whether they want to carry to term a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.

Diana Donath
Diana Donath

@ Daivd... We support exclusive rights to our OWN bodies. How about we draft a law mandating any restriction or modification to a man's body & see how far that would go... yeh, nowhere. I have so much respect for you, Wendy. You stand up against mentality like this dolt's. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Noelle A. Perry
Noelle A. Perry

we TEXANS cheer someone who promotes CHOICE. don't believe in abortion? don't have one. it's not hard.

David Aulds
David Aulds

So you " LADIES " cheer someone who promotes MURDER?

abzolut
abzolut

Wake up, women.  The Republicans in your state believe your rights are only worth "laughing at."  I am dismayed that the healthcare rights of women in Texas are dependent on one woman's ability to stand for 12+ hours without leaning on a table.  That is pathetic.

abzolut
abzolut

Wake up, women.  The Republicans in your state believe your rights are only worth "laughing at."  I am dismayed that the healthcare rights of women in Texas are dependent on one woman's ability to stand for 12+ hours without leaning on a table.  That is pathetic.

Anse
Anse

I was amused by David Dewhurst's comment that "Occupy Wall Street tactics" were used to defeat the bill. That's funny. The way rightwingers go on and on about revolution, and "Second Amendment solutions," you might assume that they'd find these "Occupy Wall Street tactics" pretty tame. Democrats have proven that you do not need to "water the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots." You don't need guns, you just need to make enough noise.

FooledByWhiteyAgain
FooledByWhiteyAgain

Since the majority of aborted fetuses are female and minority, I am pro-abortion.  How else can we can keep the number of women and/or minorities down to a manageable level???


spencesuppli2000
spencesuppli2000

When I see people reference right and wrong I look at their actions.  If you are against abortion and truly love children adopt two.  If not, keep your judgements and your wallets, as always, to yourselves.

Sammi Lu
Sammi Lu

I'm crushing hard on Wendy Davis's efforts this morning..kudos! #politics #WendyDavis

H_e_x
H_e_x

@CommonSense Vote for death in a mothers womb? Does that mean we are lowering the voting age again?

H_e_x
H_e_x

@David Aulds Oh man who doesn't love them some straight up bald face lies? Here we have a grown ass man, an adult for crying out loud, spreading disinformation. Everything this person has said is incorrect. Throw in some random capitalization (seriously, why do unhinged people randomly capitalize words? Are they under the impression that more capitalization makes them right or something?) and you have yourself another man who thinks he knows what's best for women. 

MadMac
MadMac

How many have you adopted, David? Harris County CPS has a backlog of 450 cases. Those are actual and real, abused and neglected children, not abstract foetus for you to champion from the comfort of you desk chair.

H_e_x
H_e_x

@David Aulds Unsubstantiated lies? No, who would do that?

H_e_x
H_e_x

@David Aulds Of course that's heroic. If I masturbated 12 times in a day I damn well consider myself a hero.

AreYouSerious
AreYouSerious

@abzolut There is a difference between healthcare rights and non-life threatening late term abortions. Your inability to see the difference between the two is pathetic.

Texas is proposing to make abortions safer, thus protecting the women you claim to care about.  Texas cares about their lives and their health as well as their rights.

Texas will not allow a Gosnell style clinic.  These are measures to protect that from happening.

susanelliott
susanelliott

@abzolut :applause: i hear you abzolut, and agree whole heartedly. it is a pathetic show of true democracy in action in the united states.

susanelliott
susanelliott

@FooledByWhiteyAgain how in the hell would you know the sex of aborted foetus'? that has to be one of the most ridiculous sexist and racist statements i have ever read anywhere. 


susanelliott
susanelliott

@Manny LaRue really intelligent response there bud


MadMac
MadMac

Upside, you can always continue murdering doctors in their churches, like God intended.

H_e_x
H_e_x

@MadMac I haven't been able to find evidence of hundreds of kids on his facebook page. A lot of conspiracy theories, general bigotry, and a receding hairline is all I found. 

Actually, I think there might be a chance of some hidden kids somewhere, ala Patrick Swayze in Donnie Darko (the original and never the directors cut).

susanelliott
susanelliott

@MadMac :applause: perfect response, of course katzzam has nothing to say about it... not enough intelligence there to come up with one.



H_e_x
H_e_x

@AreYouSerious @H_e_x I was under the impression that being forced to carry a fetus to term for 9 months was different that owning a gun. Apparently you see no difference whatsoever. I don't know what kind of kinky stuff you're into, but I'd advise you not to carry a gun inside your body for 9 months. 

AreYouSerious
AreYouSerious

@H_e_x @AreYouSerious  Umm.. Yes.

Isn't that the gun control advocate's argument?  I'm taking away your right to own a gun because it will make everyone safer?  

If you were to lock someone away in a padded cell, you would provide them the highest level of safety.  With every freedom afforded to this person, you would lose some measure of safety. We are at a point now where with no regulation or restriction, the lowest level of safety is available for women looking for an abortion.  

It's a lie to say that anyone is "taking away" anyone's rights in this instance.  That would be a false dichotomy, to use your previous term more appropriately.

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