Texas Abortion Bill Fails After Senator’s Filibuster

Updated: Following Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis’s marathon filibuster, Texas lawmakers failed to pass the bill, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks and effectively close most abortion clinics in Texas.

Eric Gay / AP

Sen. Davis wears tennis shoes in place of dress shoes as she begins a filibuster to kill an abortion bill, Tuesday, June 25, in Austin, Texas.

Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth started the filibuster at 11:18 a.m. CT Tuesday. It will need to last till midnight — almost 13 hours of standing — to derail a vote in the Republican-dominated Texas Senate.

During the filibuster, Sen. Davis is required to stay on topic and is not allowed to lean on anything or take a break for the restroom.

In 2011, Davis filibustered to temporarily block cuts to public schools.

Eric Gay / AP

Sen. Wendy Davis as she begins a filibuster in an effort to kill an abortion bill, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Austin, Texas.

4. The senator tweeted on Monday that she planned to filibuster the bill.

House Democrats stalled almost all night Sunday, keeping the bill from reaching the Senate until 11 a.m. Monday.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg of Spring, incorrectly suggested that rape kits could be used to terminate pregnancies.

6. Watch the live stream of the filibuster:

7. UPDATE - June 25, 2013, 11:15 p.m. ET: The line for the Senate chamber to see Wendy Davis speak wrapped around the halls and went out the door.

View from the 4th floor of line to get into Senate Chamber. #standwithwendy #txlege

— joethepleb (@Joe Deshotel)

Line out the door to see Wendy Davis stand up for women's rights in Texas

— JuddLegum (@Judd Legum)

9. Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, R-Houston, interrupts the filibuster with less than two hours to go.

Gallery erupts in shouts as @DavidHDewhurst ends filibuster with 3rd strike. He can't get order

— TexasTribune (@Texas Tribune)

10. In response, the crowd starts chanting “let her speak.”

According to the Texas Senate’s rules, the filibuster must stay on topic. Dewhurst ended the filibuster by calling third strike at 10:07 p.m., when Sen. Davis mentioned a 2011 sonogram law that Texas passed.

The first strike was for discussing Planned Parenthood’s budget. Sen. Davis received her second strike because a colleague helped her adjust a back brace.

Here's what appears to be the relevant portion of the rules of the Texas Senate

— nielslesniewski (@Niels Lesniewski)

Outside the Texas Senate gallery (@shefalil)

— BuzzFeedNews (@BuzzFeed News)

14. UPDATE - June 26, 2013, 12:12 a.m. ET: It’s still packed in the Texas Senate.

Every floor of rotunda packed. People have crowded the first floor. #txlege #SB5

— shefalil (@Shefali Luthra)

15. Democratic state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte asked, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?” which earned spontaneous applause that continued until after midnight.

The president of the Texas State Senate has lost control of the chamber!

— weeddude (@Michael Rusch)

17. UPDATE - June 26, 2013, 1:00 a.m. ET: It’s over.


— BuzzFeedNews (@BuzzFeed News)

18. UPDATE - June 26, 2013, 1:15 a.m. ET: It’s not over?

The official Senate computer says there was a vote, 17-12 to pass #SB5 - Dems say it was after midnight, @cltomlinson reports

— BuzzFeedNews (@BuzzFeed News)

19. UPDATE - June 26, 2013, 1:38 a.m. ET: Audience chants, “Hell no we won’t go!”

Thousands flood rotunda chant "hell no we won't go!". #txlege #standwithwendy

— joethepleb (@Joe Deshotel)

20. UPDATE - June 26, 2013, 1:57 p.m. ET: Official computer records of the vote on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.

For what its worth, official computer records the vote on 6/25/2013. That may end up deciding constitutionality #txlege #sb5

— cltomlinson (@ChrisTomlinson)

21. UPDATE - June 26, 2013, 2:17 a.m. ET: Although, the Texas Legislature Online changed the time stamps for unknown reasons.

Original and edited TLO sheet, posted nine minutes apart

— evanasmith (@Evan Smith)

22. UPDATE - June 26, 2013, 2:24 a.m. ET: Senator Davis sits down for the first time in 15 hours and talks on the phone to her daughters.

#sitwithwendy (Pic) @WendyDavisTexas sits down for 1st time in 15 hours. Talks to daughters, hydrates. So proud.

— JoelBurns (@Councilm. Joel Burns)

23. UPDATE - June 26, 2013, 3:30 a.m. ET: Cheering because they’ve heard the bill is dead, but still waiting for final confirmation.

Cheers in the Texas state capital rotunda after hearing #SB5 didn't pass

— BuzzFeedNews (@BuzzFeed News)

24. It’s over.

BREAKING: Texas lt. gov. reverses himself, declares vote on tough abortion bill came too late to pass.

— AP (@The Associated Press)

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Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at
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