Senate Bill 5 may have passed in the Texas House Monday, but the abortion law may be defeated as Democrats in the state Senate plan to filibuster the bill. The Senate Democrats have chosen Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, to filibuster until the midnight deadline.
Abortion bill SB-5 would ban the procedure after 20 weeks, requiring abortions to take place in surgical clinics, and only by doctors with admitting privileges at a local hospital. According to its opponents, these restrictions would mean almost all of the 42 clinics in Texas would have to shut down.
On Monday, Senate Democrats blocked a motion to vote on the bill ahead of the planned Tuesday vote, the Associated Press reported. The Democrats were able to prevent the rescheduling of the bill by just a single vote. With SB-5 scheduled to make its way to the floor for a vote, Sen. Davis is prepping for her physically challenging job of filibustering.
The 30-day Texas special session is scheduled to end at midnight on Tuesday, and if Sen. Davis can keep talking for approximately 13 hours, the bill will be defeated. Sen. Davis announced her plans to filibuster on Twitter while adding, “Stand with me tomorrow, and share your story with me so I can tell it from the Senate floor #SB5 #txlege.”
— Wendy Davis (@WendyDavisTexas) June 25, 2013
Davis brings previous filibuster experience to the table: In 2011 she was able to filibuster a bill proposing $5.4 billion in cuts to the public school system, AP noted. Senate Democratic leader Kirk Watson, D-Austin, said of Davis, “It’s important that a woman who’s the mother of two daughters will be the one standing. We will all be there providing assistance and help,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
Sen. Davis will need to talk continuously for 13 hours without any bathroom breaks, AP noted. She won’t be able to lean on the podium or use anything for support during the filibuster. Democrats are allowed to assist Sen. Davis by asking questions, giving her a short reprieve.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who supports the bill, said the House failed to act quickly in returning the bill to the Senate, the Star-Telegram noted. If the bill had come to the floor on Monday, a Democratic filibuster would have been a more arduous task. According to Davis’ spokesman, Rick Svatora, the senator is currently preparing for her marathon filibuster but did not reveal any of her plans. Even if Sen. Davis’ filibuster is successful, Texas Governor Rick Perry can order another special session to vote on the abortion bill.