President Obama on Tuesday voiced his support for a Democrat filibustering a controversial abortion bill in the Texas statehouse.
State Sen. Wendy Davis (D) filibustered for nearly 13 hours to protest a bill that would have banned abortion in the state after 20 weeks.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) had called the special session to move the anti-abortion rights bill and could reconvene the legislature for another 30 days to resume efforts to pass the law.
The Senate floor descended into chaos for the final hours of the filibuster, as both sides jockeyed to take advantage of the state’s filibuster rules. Texas has a “three strikes and you're out” policy.
Republicans said Davis twice veered into matters that weren’t germane to the debate and said that a back brace she put on in the middle of the filibuster with the help of a fellow lawmaker was a form of outside aid, ending her filibuster.
A final vote on the bill took place after midnight, rendering it null and void as the state's legislative session had ended.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also tweeted his support for Davis, as the hash-tag “IStandWithWendy” began trending on Twitter and helped push the tense floor debate outside the Texas border.
Davis’s filibuster grabbed national attention, as hundreds flooded the Texas statehouse to show their support or to protest, and more than 100,000 watched a Texas Tribune live-stream of the event.
Abortion rights activists said the bill would make Texas’s laws the strictest in the nation and would force the closure of all but a handful of clinics in the state.
“The bill would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, required physicians to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of an abortion facility, required abortions — even drug-induced ones — to be performed in ambulatory surgical centers and required doctors to administer drugs that induce abortion in person,” The Texas Tribune reported.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) lauded Davis’s achievement.
Texas the eyes of women are upon you. Sen Wendy Davis. Brave and strong.— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) June 26, 2013