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Texas showdown over abortion and the filibuster

Texas showdown over abortion and the filibuster

A major fight over abortion and women’s health and rights went down last night in the Texas statehouse.

Ann Marie Cox says “Don’t mess with Texas women” in The Guardian:

Sometime around midnight last night, a female state senator in Texas stood up under the capitol dome and asked a version of the single most important question that can be asked in a democracy: “At what point does a female senator need to raise her voice to be heard over the male colleagues in the room?”

There are a lot of other versions of this question – “What do the oppressed have to do in order move the wheels of justice?” – but only one answer: Make some noise. Make a lot of noise. Noise draws scrutiny, and it is the enduring legacy of American democracy that injustice fully exposed does not stand. Yesterday’s supreme court decision gutting the Voting Rights Act illustrated that civil rights progress must be jealously guarded, but it did not invalidate the century’s worth of evidence that the arc of history bends toward justice.

Governor Perry is not heeding her warning: he has called the Texas Legislature back to session on July 1st. Despite this, Davis continues to be praised by many.


“Our community is thankful for Wendy Davis’ tenacity to fight for women’s health – her courage is recognized by women of Texas and her leadership reverberates across the country,” Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Today was democracy in action,” Davis told a crowd of supporters after the failed attempt at a vote, the Austin American-Statesman reported. “You all are the voices we were speaking for from the floor.”

Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post:

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis’ 11-hour long filibuster of an abortion bill on Tuesday riveted the country — at one point there were nearly 200,000 people following the livestream of her remarks — and proved, yet again, a very simple political fact: We are suckers for a good, old fashioned filibuster.

Sean Sullivan in The Washington Post confirms that this fight is not over:

“The people can’t come and create so much of a ruckus that we can’t do our job,” state Sen. Dan Patrick (R) told the Texas Tribune.

In the article, one commentor wrote:

Note to Sen. Patrick: The hell we can’t disrupt the process. We can, we did, and we will do it again. It’s our captiol, it’s our state, these are our bodies, this is our constitutional right, and we are not going to stop fighting for what is right for all the women of Texas.

Buzzfeed recapped the power of last night on the internet

Julie Goss Clawson says that in this battle, “pro-life” is a misnomer:

Fact – I hate abortion, wish it never had to happen. Also fact – unless the systems of the state/the church/etc. become actually pro-life and not just pro-birth, it is a necessary ill. So I applaud that the citizens of this state effectively influenced the legislative process in whatever way they could to protect what is sadly the only option for many women in a system that punishes the poor, restricts health care, and educates only the rich well. Banning abortion solves nothing. Fixing the system to reduce the need for it to ever be an option will. But so far the Republicans have shot down every law that would do that. They are the farthest thing from pro-life possible.


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Kristin Fontaine

Kurt, thank you for posting this summary of events in Texas and the subsequent media coverage. Very helpful!

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