Senator Wendy Davis vows to fight abortion bill again after marathon filibuster

Texas governor Rick Perry calls special legislative session to force through controversial bill to ban abortions in his state

Los Angeles

Texas Senator Wendy Davis made world news this week, as she delivered a marathon 10-hour speech on the floor of the state capitol in a bid to block the passage of an anti-abortion bill. The Fort Worth Democrat stood upright in pink running shoes for the duration of her filibuster attempt on Tuesday, for which she was forced to forego food, water or loo breaks.

Yet now it appears her efforts may have been in vain: on Wednesday, Texas Republican governor Rick Perry called a special legislative session for 1 July, to force through the controversial bill to ban abortions in his state after 20 weeks of pregnancy. “Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn,” Governor Perry said in a statement. “We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do.”

Davis, once a teenage mother who went on to earn a Harvard Law degree, argued that it was Perry and Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst who had “led the charge in terms of a breakdown of decorum.” Speaking to MSNBC, she said, “They have overridden and made a mockery of all of the rules we run by in this state.”

Its critics say the Republican-backed bill would close almost every abortion clinic in Texas, and impose sweeping restrictions on the procedure. Similar 20-week bans have already been passed in 12 US states, though courts have blocked the controversial legislation in three of the 12: Arizona, Georgia and Idaho. Acknowledging that the bill would likely garner sufficient votes to pass in the new session, Davis said she was nonetheless glad to have brought the issue to people's attention. “They may roll over us. They probably will, but they underestimate the consequences of doing so,” she told the Dallas Morning News. “We're still going to fight with every fibre that we have.”

Republicans managed to bring Davis's lengthy filibuster to an end around two hours before the bill's deadline at midnight on Tuesday. Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst halted her speech, claiming she had strayed off-topic, and had received unauthorised assistance fitting a back-brace to help her stay upright. But her vocal supporters on the floor and in the public gallery disrupted proceedings sufficiently to block the vote in the dying minutes of the session.

Davis's actions earned her praise from Democrats in the US Senate, 31 of whom signed a letter thanking her for her “courage and determination in defeating… a bill that would have severely limited women's reproductive choices in Texas… Thanks to your dedication, Texas and the rest of the country will rethink efforts to enact similar laws.”

US Senators who wish to enact a filibuster have a somewhat easier task than Davis and her fellow state senators. Anyone who wishes to block a bill or motion in the US Senate can simply state their intention to launch a filibuster; those proposing the bill or motion must then achieve 60 or more of the 100 available votes - a so-called “super-majority” - to continue.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us