Senator Wendy Davis of Dallas/Fort Worth will attempt to stall a bill containing several conservative abortion measures in the Texas Senate today. The Senator’s filibuster must last approximately 13 hours in order to effectively avert the bill that is scheduled for vote after her speech concludes.
The conservative state of about 26 million people has 42 abortion clinics. The bill is intended to hold these Texas clinics to higher standards of health care, and would effectively cause all but five of them to either close or to be rebuilt, critics of the proposed legislation say.
Opponents argue that women would have difficulties getting an abortion if this bill were to become law, and that some might travel to Mexico in order to have the procedure performed.
The bill passed in the Texas House of Representatives on Monday morning, with some conservative Democrats supporting it. Supporters of the act, which bans abortion after the baby has been alive for 20 weeks, attest that women’s health would be better protected if abortion doctors had admission privileges in hospitals within a 30-mile vicinity.
Senator Davis will need to talk for about 13 consecutive hours without taking a restroom break. Davis plans to read testimonies from women and doctors who say they will be impacted negatively if the ban is imposed. She read one story from a couple who had received the terrible news that their 20-week-old daughter was terminally ill, and ultimately decided to abort her because of the emotional stress that it was causing them.
Gov. Rick Perry would have to call forth another 30-day special session to reintroduce the bill into the state’s legislature if Davis succeeds with her filibuster.
Davis began speaking just after 11:15 a.m. today, and must stand without leaning on anything during the filibuster. The bill must be passed in the Senate prior to 11:59 p.m. this evening in order for Governor Rick Perry to sign it into Texas law.