Texas state Senator Wendy Davis does not shy away from a fight.
When the state legislature announced plans to enact harsh new restrictions that would close almost every abortion clinic in the state — and making it nearly impossible for Texas women to obtain crucial reproductive medical care — Davis, a Democrat who represents constitutents in Fort Worth, knew she had to do everything she could to take it down.
Watch a live stream of the filibuster below:
The legislation would ban abortion after 20 weeks following fertilization, significantly narrowing the amount of time within which a pregnant woman could choose to terminate her pregnancy. It would also force clinics providing abortion services to upgrade their facilities to comply with the standards applied to ambulatory surgical centers and be staffed solely by doctors with admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. That's difficult to manage in a state with a gigantic number of rural residents, and the bill's many critics derided the restrictions as politically-motivated and nonsensical.
Beginning at 11:18 a.m. CDT on Tuesday, Senator Davis began a 13-hour filibuster to block a vote on the certain-to-pass legislation, which already has the endorsement of evangelical Christisan Governor Rick Perry.
"If this passes, abortion would be virtually banned in the state of Texas, and many women could be forced to resort to dangerous and unsafe measures," President Cecile Richards of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund commented.
"I'm rising on the floor today to humbly give voice to thousands of Texans who have been ignored," Davis said. "These voices have been silenced by a governor who made blind partisanship and person political ambition the official business of our great state."
She also made reference to the legislation as a "raw abuse of power."
To accomplish the defeat of the bill, however, Senator Davis will have to pass through some draconian restrictions of her own. She is not allowed the use of a chair, or even to lean against a nearby object. She must stay on topic and will not be allowed to pause or stop talking for the entire 13-hour period, and unlike Rand Paul during his filibuster on drones, Davis will not be able to take any breaks — even for meals, water, or to use the bathroom.
With the odds seemingly stacked against her and the women of Texas, many eyes remain trained on Senator Davis and the Texas Senate floor. Can she pull it off? Only time can tell. Meanwhile, her supporters stand ardently with her.
— Wendy Davis (@WendyDavisTexas) June 25, 2013
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