An attempt by Texas Democrats to filibuster a controversial proposed abortion law has failed. State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) began her filibuster at about 11 a.m. Tuesday and planned to continue for 13 hours until the midnight deadline for a vote had passed.
However, Davis was cut short at 10 p.m.–two hours short of her goal–after Republicans took advantage of senate rules and forced an end to the filibuster.
If passed, Texas Senate Bill 5 would ban abortions after 20 weeks, require doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and require that all abortions take place in hospital-style surgical centers. The third requirement would effectively close most abortion clinics in the state, many of which would not be able to afford the upgrades necessary to comply with the law.
The future of the bill is not immediately clear. Republicans claim that they successfully pushed through a vote on the bill before midnight, while Democrats claim that the bill passed at 12:02 a.m., making it an illegal vote.
If this truly awful bill does end up becoming law, it will have the potential to affect tens if not hundreds of thousands of women. (Texas–a state with 25 million people–has more than four million women between the ages of 15 and 39.)
If Texas Republicans truly cared about women’s health, they wouldn’t push a bill that could force women seeking abortions to travel hundreds of miles in order to obtain one, or that could even drive women to seek unsafe, illegal abortions like those performed in Kermit Gosnell’s clinic.
Contrary to what its supporters claim, Texas Senate Bill 5 is an anti-women’s health bill. Kudos to Wendy Davis and the other Texas lawmakers who stood up for women’s reproductive rights against an anti-choice majority hell-bent on restricting them–even if their efforts were in vain.