Sen. Wendy Davis grabbed the attention of many Americans who had never before heard her name when she filibustered the Texas abortion bill Tuesday. In order to defeat it, she had to speak on the Senate floor for more than 10 hours straight without any breaks or even sitting down.
As midnight approached, the session dissolved in chaos. Republicans say they passed the measure, but Democrats say the vote took place after midnight, making it invalid.
The House passed the bill on Monday morning. Two of its main clauses would ban abortions after 20 weeks and mandate that they be done at a surgery clinic.
Here are a few facts about the 50-year-old Fort Worth Democrat, courtesy of the Washington Post:
She’s no stranger to being a single mother and poverty. Davis took care of her younger three siblings when she was only 14 to help her mother out, and then she had her own child at 19.
Davis is a Harvard Law School graduate and the first person in her family to get a college degree. Before starting her own practice she clerked, litigated and dabbled in the title insurance business for a few years.
Before she was elected in the state Senate in 2008, which made her the 12th Democrat in the upper chamber, she served on the Fort Worth City Council for nine years, where she focused on neighborhood economic development.
Abortion rights isn’t the only issue Davis is passionate about. She also has interests in cancer prevention, payday lending, protecting victims of sexual assault and government transparency.
Davis is no stranger to the filibuster and has successfully used it in 2011 to stop a state budget that underfunded schools by nearly $5 billion. Most of the money was replaced a couple of years later.
She’s apparently a “fashion icon” in the state Capitol, according to the New York Times, and even wore pink sneakers for Tuesday's filibuster.