Filibuster of 13 hours to end at 12 am
Bulletin: After slightly more than 9 hours of filibuster, Senate President Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst suspended the filibuster when he decided Sen. Davis had strayed off the topic. Democrats immediately moved to vote on the abortion bill and are at this hour - 10:45 p.m. - debating the matter. - The Legendary
Austin – As State Senator Wendy Davis, D - Ft. Worth, stood in pink tennis shoes making opening remarks in filibuster to stall passage of a Republican effort to severely limit abortions in Texas, a man stood in the gallery and shouted, “Abortion is genocide!”
DPS Capital Troopers quickly ejected him from the chamber as the liberal Cow Town political personality termed “consistently badass” by the bright lights, big city tabloid, the Dallas “Observer,” began to read into the record testimony of abortion providers, doctors and patients who sought to terminate their pregnancies.
Democrats chose Senator Davis to perform the marathon session, which requires a Senator to stand without leaning or sitting, until midnight because she gave birth the first time while she was still a teenager.
Her mission is to delay a vote on the Senate floor until after midnight today, Tuesday, June 24, when a special session called by Governor Rick Perry ends.
It's an issue that has seen a successful bloc of liberal Democrats in both houses coalesce against a Republican desire to limit the opportunity to end unwanted pregnancy, a strategy carried out in open defiance of a GOP majority that seems ill-prepared to resist in this special session.
Governor Rick Perry added the abortion bill to the call at nearly the last minute; according to knowledgeable observers, that put a severe crimp in prospects for Republicans to pass what Sen. Davis has termed “a raw abuse of power.”
Lawmakers waved coat hangers on the floor of the House of Representatives throughout debate on Sunday, June 23, before voting the bill out at 4 a.m. in a tense session of purposeful foot-dragging delay.
They argued that women who seek abortions would be forced to visit such violence-prone Mexican border communities as Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Reynosa, and Juarez.
The bill did not reach the Senate floor until 11 a.m. the following day, on Monday, June 24.
If it passes, the bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and force many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities and be classified as ambulatory surgical centers. Doctors who perform the controversial procedures would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. That has been called “a tall order in rural communities.” The borders of Texas are nearly 800 miles apart, east to west, and north south at their lengthiest distances.
Some isolated, rural Texas counties have no hospital.
The filibuster if successful will probably take a heavy toll on the GOP agenday by blocking other bills regarding transportation funding for toll roads and changing criminal sentencing guidelines to allow judges to sentence children younger than 17 to life terms in the penitentiary.
At present, judges have only the option to sentence those 17 or older to a life term if convicted of capital murder.