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.
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
- 5 Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
£4800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: A full time...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...
£21000 - £36000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: SENCO - Benfleet - J...
£55 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Are you looking to work in Edu...