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.

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:

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.

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.

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