Filibuster

06.26.13

5 Moments From Wendy Davis’s Epic Filibuster

In a controversial and confusing day of legislation, Wendy Davis (and rowdy protesters) prevented the Texas State Senate from passing anti-abortion bill SB5. WATCH the highlights.

Wendy Davis Takes the Floor

Wearing pink sneakers, the Democratic state senator from Fort Worth began her filibuster at 11:18 a.m., knowing that she would need to remain on her feet for almost 13 hours to prevent the vote on what would be the strictest abortion laws in the country.

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Filibuster Busted

Just after 10 p.m., Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, acting as Senate president, ruled that Davis had broken filibuster rules by digressing off topic into a discussion of mandatory ultrasound testing. Although Davis, who was still going strong, argued the relevancy of her discourse, she was given a third “point of order” and removed from the Senate floor, effectively ending the filibuster.

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‘Let Her Speak’

Crowding the Senate’s upstairs gallery, opponents of the bill turned into raucous protesters, boisterously expressing their disgust with the decision to shut Davis down.

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Chaos in the Capitol

As the 12 a.m. deadline was drawing near, Senate Republicans attempted to vote on SB5. But one of Davis’s Democratic colleagues had other ideas. “At what point must a female Senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues in the room?” asked State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte. Her question sparked more shouting and cheering from spectators, which wound up lasting for roughly 15 minutes, enough time to delay the vote past midnight.

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Anti-Abortion Bill Dies

For the next three hours, no one knew exactly what had happened. A vote was ultimately taken, and SB5 passed handily. However, confusion and conflicting reports led to uncertainty as to whether the vote was official. At around 3:15 a.m., Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards told a throng of supporters in the Texas Capitol Rotunda that the bill, at least for now, was dead.