I typically stay away from talk about politics. It’s not that I have an issue with debate or with arguing or even that I don’t have an opinion and am uninformed — while I am obviously not the most politically driven person in the universe, I do like to stay on top of current events and issues with the country I am a part of. This issue is SO incredibly important that I just couldn’t keep quiet about it.
At 11:18 AM on Tuesday (6/25) morning, Texas Senator Wendy Davis asked to speak about Senate Bill 5 (SB5), in which abortions would be banned after the 20th week of a pregnancy. New abortion clinic standards in the bill would effectively shut down most of the clinics in the entire state, save for FIVE out of the current 42, which meet the newly proposed requirements. The other 37 facilities would need to upgrade their facilities and be classified as “ambulatory surgical centers”.
(via the Huffington Post)
Wendy Davis is a shining example of what a woman can do when she puts her mind to it. Faced with an entire room filled with stuffy, older white men in suits, she very literally STOOD for what she believes in for 13 hours without food, water or bathroom breaks.
Rules of the filibuster required that she not lean, sit, drink or relieve herself in any way. She received her second warning during the filibuster after another Senator helped her adjust her back brace (her first and third warnings were on germaneness, the second of which resulted in a 2 hour debate which was the ultimate stall to keep the filibuster from ending.)
Senator Davis is the PERFECT person to speak on this issue. Born and raised in Texas, she had her first baby by 19 and still went to Harvard, where she graduated with honors in LAW, OF ALL THINGS! She is intelligent, driven, fierce and looked GORGEOUS even after 13 hours of what some people may consider to be ridiculous conditions giving the fact that she’s only trying to keep a bill from being passed that is blatantly unconstitutional.
Wendy became the first person in her family to graduate from college, despite the fact that at the age of 14 she had to deal with raising her 3 siblings for her single mother, and raised her first child as a teenager herself. She has dealt with her fair share of hardship, and has come out on top with a law degree, a beautiful family and public recognition on her efforts and accomplishments as a state senator.
This bill is unconstitutional. It would literally result in women being treated as second class citizens, fully abolishing our reproductive rights as well as our human rights in general just to be able to do what we want with our bodies. Even those who disagree with abortion have to see how debilitating this would be, and how much of a set back this would be as a nation and for women everywhere.
(via the Huffington Post)
If the filibuster lasted past 11:59 PM, the bill would not pass. Almost TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND people watched the live stream as, in the last ten minutes of the filibuster, the crowd in the gallery began cheering so wildly that the actual matter could not be voted on until two minutes after midnight, effectively squashing the bill (for now) and any chance it has of making it to Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has already said that if the bill makes it to his desk, he will sign it.
“Initially, Republicans insisted the vote started before the midnight deadline and passed the bill that Democrats spent the day trying to kill. But after official computer records and printouts of the voting record showed the vote took place Wednesday, and then were changed to read Tuesday, senators retreated into a private meeting to reach a conclusion.” – via The Washington Post
Regardless of how you feel about abortion or the laws surrounding the act, it is undeniable that the people in charge of this abused their power and attempted to falsify documents so that the filibuster would end before midnight, despite the fact that 182,000 people were watching the live stream and clearly saw the vote to end the filibuster complete itself AFTER the deadline.
I am deeply, deeply honored to have been a part of the 182,000 live streamers who witnessed history last night. This wasn’t about standing UP to Republicans, or the “white men”, or their lack of morals. This was about standing FOR ourselves, and for women’s rights everywhere. This is about not backing down, even when the people in charge try to deliberately set you back and cut you down and stop you from bringing your point home. This is about protecting our rights as women and as American citizens, and not letting anybody take them away from us.
Wendy Davis spoke for 11 hours, and when she was VISIBLY exhausted and being attacked for the germaneness of her topics (which, let’s fucking face it, how is talking about a sonogram bill that DIRECTLY INVOLVES women’s rights and their abilities to have abortions NOT germane?!), OTHER senators then stepped in and proceeded to argue amongst themselves just to prolong the filibuster for as long as they were able to.
Davis’ pink sneakers, worn during her 13 hour stand against SB5.
My friend Leah said it best via Facebook status:
“I need feminism because a woman has to stand for 13 hours, not eat, not drink, not stop speaking, not relieve herself, and not have assistance with a back brace just to prove to a group of predominantly white men that we need our reproductive rights.”
Senator Wendy Davis, on the way the events of the night unfolded and on Lt. Governor David Dewhurst calling the shouting crowd of citizens an “unruly mob”:
“I think that’s a disservice to the people who were here,” she said. “The people who were here were justifiably upset about an attempt to infringe upon a constitutional right they hold dear, primarily one that would have an impact on women but also on the men who love them. Tonight, people who have been in this Capitol for far longer than I have said they’ve never experienced anything like what we saw at the Capitol today and this evening. There were thousands of people here throughout the day and what they were asking that their voices would be heard. We did our best as a democratic caucus to make sure that happened, and I think the results speak for themselves.
“[I feel] tired, but really happy. It does in a sense [feel historic] because of the energy of the people who were here. I’m pleased to know the spotlight is shining on Texas, on the failure of our current leadership, but a spotlight is also shining on how great we are because we are an incredible state made up of incredible, spirited people who step up and make a difference when it’s necessary to do that.”
There are so few things these days that make me proud to be a part of this country, and this is absolutely one of them. The solidarity and drive behind the people who helped Wendy, as well as the senator herself, are things to marvel at and be in awe of. The cheering and shouting from the crowd and the dedication behind doing what was done last night is a thing of beauty, and I am so incredibly proud to be a woman and to be a Democrat.
Let’s also not forget about Senator Leticia Van de Putte standing up to her male colleagues, after being ignored repeatedly despite her attempts to be acknowledged. You go, girls!
Did you watch the filibuster? What do you think about SB5?