Those who chose to ‘Stand With Wendy’ prevail in Texas

Those who chose to 'Stand With Wendy' prevail in Texas
Those who chose to 'Stand With Wendy' prevail in Texas
Associated Press

Yesterday was not a slow-news day. A Supreme Court majority gutted a landmark civil-rights law; President Obama unveiled a sweeping new policy to address the climate crisis; there was a Senate special election in Massachusetts; the search is still on for Edward Snowden; there was a deadly and critically important attack on the presidential palace in Afghanistan; and the IRS “scandal” came to rather abrupt end.

But it was a story out of the Texas state legislature that managed to capture the attention of millions across the country

A bill that opponents claimed would virtually ban abortion in Texas failed to pass late Tuesday after lawmakers missed a deadline by just minutes.

There were chaotic scenes after a filibuster attempt fell just short and protesters cheered, clapped and shouted from 11:45 p.m. to midnight and beyond as lawmakers tried to hold the vote before the session ended at midnight (1 a.m. ET).

Chaotic, indeed. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R), acting in his capacity as state Senate president, initially said the proposal had been approved before the midnight deadline, but reversed himself three hours later, conceding that the vote on SB5 was just a few minutes too late.

The victory was the result of an extraordinary effort from Wendy Davis, a Democratic state senator from Fort Worth, who, in a back brace, filibustered the measure for nearly 11 hours – and would have kept going had Republicans not shut her down, saying her speech strayed from the chamber’s filibuster rules.

To get a sense of what it was like in the building, take a look at this video, tracked down by my colleague Tricia McKinney, recorded last night. Davis and many of her Democratic colleagues came out to speak to supporters around the 23:34 mark, and the video is well worth watching.

Let’s also pause to note that Texas Republicans also tried to redistrict Davis out of a job, but their plans were thwarted – by the Voting Rights Act conservatives on the Supreme Court gutted last night.

As for the bill that Davis and her allies helped kill, GOP lawmakers in the state intended to ban all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and close all but five of the 42 abortion clinics in Texas.

For proponents of reproductive rights, last night offered a genuinely inspirational moment, but it’s worth noting that this fight may soon have another round.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), who’s eager to sign the sweeping new restrictions, may very well call state lawmakers back to work for another special session, at which point the same proposal will be considered once more.

Dewhurst hinted that this scenario is, in fact, quite likely. “It’s over. It’s been fun. But see you soon,” he said.

Regardless, I don’t think anyone will soon forget what we saw from Wendy Davis, or just how many people were eager to #StandWithWendy.

Those who chose to 'Stand With Wendy' prevail in Texas

Reproductive Rights, Rick Perry, Texas and Wendy Davis

Those who chose to 'Stand With Wendy' prevail in Texas