Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis of Texas on Tuesday staged a nearly 13-hour filibuster of a state bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Republicans tried to pass the bill before midnight, but failed.
“If we were truly talking about women’s healthcare, if we were truly talking about making sure women were safe after an abortion, this is the kind of thing that goes right to the heart of that,” Davis said during her filibuster.
Davis began her filibuster before noon, reading aloud testimonies from women and doctors who would be affected by the legislation. By midnight, tens of thousands were riveted by the senator’s passionate effort to stop Republicans from passing Senate Bill 5.
The bill would have also forced the closure of most abortion clinics in Texas.
“I just love the fact that she just decided to get out there and just do this. It was so inspiring in a way just to see individual activism in full cry,” Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of the Daily Beast, said Wednesday on Morning Joe. “It has an inspiring quality that I think is going to make other women feel that they must get out and do this.”
During the filibuster, Davis had to stay on topic, avoid leaning, and could not take a bathroom break. It ended after Rep. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst broke the Senate’s “three-strike rule.” He blamed Davis for mentioning Planned Parenthood’s budget, having her back brace adjusted by a colleague, and mentioning the 2011 sonogram law.
“At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?” Texas Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, a Democrat, said on Tuesday.
Thousands of people watched Davis’ filibuster live online. Others, including President Obama, took to Twitter using #StandWithWendy.