Today, Wendy Davis is my sweet spot. Senator Wendy Davis is a politician in Texas. I have been following this story for a few days because Texas is right smack dab in the middle of the war on women. There is a bill waiting for a vote in the Texas legislature that would make abortion illegal after 20 weeks, even though the federal law does not find abortion problematic until 24 weeks. Many states have been attacking the right of a woman to make decisions about her own health and her own pregnancy by going after abortion rights piecemeal. These states have been passing laws that chip away at this issue of the number of weeks into a pregnancy when an abortion may happen; some states cutting that number to 16 and one state even proposed a limit of 6 weeks. TRAP laws, that require clinics that provide abortions to meet new criteria that are designed to be more rigorous than the clinic can reasonably comply with, are forcing clinics out of business.
So, right now, this week, Texas is making its run against Roe v. Wade by writing a bill that would specify that very 20 week number we have been talking about and which would close 80% of the clinics in Texas that perform abortions and which would also close all of the clinics in West Texas. The bill was introduced in the Texas legislature after a heroic attempt to stop it by Democrats who lined up to exercise their right to speak out about the bill. Hundreds of women came to the legislature and signed on to speak for the allotted time and then passed the torch to the next women in line. It was democracy in action. It made me proud that these women refused to accept their possible fate quietly and that they took the time to fight. The legislature was unable to bring the bill to a vote on that day because these women talked until they closed down.
The bill had to sit for 24 hours before there could be a vote and then it must be voted on before midnight tonight for some reason which I can’t remember. I think the legislative session ends at midnight. The only thing that can prevent the Texas legislature from voting on this bill is if someone filibusters it, all day, until midnight tonight. The rules for a filibuster, Rachel Maddow informs us, are very harsh in Texas. Only one person can filibuster; no one can help. They must talk nonstop and what they speak about must be on topic. They must stand the entire time; they are not allowed to lean on anything. They cannot take a break even to use the facilities. Wendy Davis, who completed a successful filibuster last year which halted an anti-education bill, is 9 hours into a filibuster today and tonight, even as I am typing this, to stop this bill that wants to take away the rights of women. She is wearing her pink sneakers and she is there, still talking. I will go to sleep and she will still be talking to fight for the rights of women. Cecil Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood is there to cheer her on but she cannot help her with her filibuster. Wendy Davis is quite a heroine to me today and she is my sweet spot. I hope she makes it until midnight, but I will understand it if she can’t.
Senator Wendy Davis almost made it for the 13 hours, but the legislature declared, sometime in the 11th hour that Wendy Davis had 3 strikes (she spoke off topic twice, once about Planned Parenthood (?) and once about ultrasounds from a law that passed in Texas last year (?), and she leaned once) they used their rules to stop the filibuster. The Democrats that filled the visitors section of the chamber then went nuts until after midnight and Wendy Davis and the women of Texas won anyway (probably a temporary victory) because the legislative session ended and no vote was taken. The bill is dead for now. Thank you Senator Wendy Davis, for your extreme efforts to help the women of Texas and the women of America you are definitely my sweet spot for today.