Texas governor Rick Perry mounts new bid for abortion restrictions after Wendy Davis filibuster blocked bill
The governor has now called for another special legislative session to reconsider the proposal
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Thursday 27 June 2013
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.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...