Democratic Senator Wendy Davis filibustered for approximately twelve hours last night with the hopes of stalling a bill that would ban late-term abortions in Texas and cause the majority of abortion clinics in the state to close. Although Senator Davis’ filibuster ended prior to the close of the special congressional session, Republicans were not able to pass the bill in time.
Senator Davis spoke for about twelve hours on Tuesday in opposition to the bill, relaying testimonies from women and doctors who say that the law would negatively impact them. The Dallas/Fort Worth Senator was not allowed to be seated or to lean on anything during her filibuster, and could not take a break to eat or to use the restroom without violating filibuster rules.
A fellow Senator helped Davis put a back brace on at around 6:30 p.m., which was the second time that filibuster procedures were not properly followed that day. Senator Davis also strayed from topic a few hours later, her third violation of filibuster rules during the session. Senators can vote to discontinue the filibuster after three violations, and Republicans in the Senate motioned to end the filibuster at that time.
The Senate proceeded to vote and pass the bill; however, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst was not able to sign the bill before midnight. “See you soon,” said Dewhurst, suggesting that Governor Rick Perry may call a second special session of congress to reconsider the bill.