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Don't Mess With Wendy Davis in Texas

Society & Culture  (tags: americans, abortion rights, Texas, Wendy Davis )

- 1697 days ago -
You want a real Mr. Smith goes to Washington moment? It's no Mr., and it wasn't in Washington. It was Tuesday night in Texas, where state senator Wendy Davis attempted a thirteen-hour filibuster to keep SB5, a draconian abortion restriction -->

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Kit B (276)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 8:19 am
Photo Credit: (Ralph Lauer) State Senator Wendy Davis (D) Texas

You want a real Mr. Smith goes to Washington moment? It’s no Mr., and it wasn’t in Washington. It was Tuesday night in Texas, where state senator Wendy Davis attempted a thirteen-hour filibuster to keep SB5, a draconian abortion restriction that would shut 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics, from becoming law.

It was riveting to watch. Never do you become so invested in the minutiae of parliamentary procedure as when someone is filibustering a measure like SB5. In Texas, a filibuster requires you to stay upright (no leaning!) and stay on topic with no more than three non-germane strikes. “Yes, that’s germane!” you start shouting. “No, we cannot have order! Ask more parliamentary questions!”

When State Senator Letitia Van De Putte asked, “Parliamentary question, at what point does a female senator need to raise her voice to be heard over the male colleagues in the room?” the room erupted.

The night concluded with a wall of noise from protesters preventing a roll call vote on the measure from being completed until after 12 a.m., killing the bill.

It was almost like watching basketball, except the stakes were the lives and choices of thousands of women. So, just what dozens of male conservative legislators would probably call “a fun low-stakes game.”

This wasn’t democracy in action, exactly. It was parliamentary procedure in action. But it was still a stirring sight.

As a general rule, when someone tries to sneak something past under cover of darkness, it is not because they believe it would be wildly attractive by daylight.

And that’s exactly the case with the abortion restrictions that were being dragged through the Texas legislature. The controversial measures did not pass during the legislature’s regular session, but Gov. Rick Perry (R) added the anti-abortion legislation to the docket of the special 30-day session — in spite of the 80 percent of Texans who did not think focusing on abortion was a good use of the special session’s time and the majority of Texans who opposed the bill — throwing the Democratic minority and pro-choice advocates into a frenzy as they worked to block a vote. It was a silly and alarming week by turns. There was the moment when State Representative Jody Laubenberg described rape kits as though they were some kind of pregnancy-ending measure. Because these people are just the ones you want legislating their way into your womb.

It all culminated in Davis’s eleven-hour filibuster, which ended amid questions of procedure and the roars from protesters packing the hall who managed to delay a vote until 12:03 a.m. The lieutenant governor of Texas confirmed Wednesday morning that the bill was dead.

Instead of succeeding in putting one over on the women of Texas under cover of darkness (yet, anyway), this rushed session drew national attention to the cause. President Obama even tweeted to “#StandWithWendy,” saying that “Something special is happening in Austin tonight.”

And it was special. “The leadership may not want to listen to TX women, but they will have to listen to me,” Davis tweeted before starting her filibuster.

Yes, a filibuster cuts both ways. The same rules of parliamentary procedure that stop this bill today could stop another one you actually agreed with tomorrow. A vocal minority can’t get its way all the time, or we’d have chaos. But this was just a handy reminder that — hey, women are not a minority, in spite of the stubborn insistence of many state legislatures on treating them like one. Never mind all the jokes about “if I wanted to hear a woman spend 11 hours complaining about how no one was listening to her, I’d visit my mother for half an hour.” This was a case of the minority in the legislature standing up for everyone.

There’s something stirring about a filibuster. It makes dramatic and visible one of the questions of democracy — what if the majority tries to put one over on the minority? What recourse have they?

In Texas, they’ve got Wendy Davis.

By: Alexandra Petri | The Washington Post |


JL A (282)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 8:21 am
Kudos to Wendy Davis! One person of moral character speaking up and giving voice to justice can indeed make a difference!

Kit B (276)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 8:22 am

In Texas not many dare to speak out against the Perry regime. That only make Wendy Davis shine brightly in the eyes of millions of women, who needed a champion to speak for them.

One tiny victory, we know this will come around again, but with Wendy Davis and others in the Texas Senate like her, we have a small chance for long term victory.

My shout out to Wendy Davis is a heartfelt Thank you.

Sue H (7)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 8:28 am
This was simply awesome! Bright Blessings to Wendy Davis and all the protesters !

Pat B (355)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 8:34 am
WOW, this is GREAT.!! It's all over the Local News here, Kit. Loved it...Kudos to Ms. Davis, and all that she stood for. She's our new HERO here.!! Thanks, Kit.

Alison Baker (25)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 8:37 am
It took a woman to do what men refuse to do, support women & their health issues.Where would men be without women? Nowhere fast -- I see no reason why women continue allowing men to walk all over them.

Arielle S (313)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 9:08 am
Wow, indeed! She actually pulled it off! I am forever a fan now. Thank you for the great news, Kit!

I saw the 60 Minutes piece about Pussy Riot this week - one of the girls got sent to two years hard labor, leaving behind her husband and young son. Rather than regrets, she said sometimes sacrifices have to be made if we want to change things. I immediately thought of Rose Parks, Effie Hobby, Amelia Earhart, Margaret Sanger, Harriet Tubman... and a lot of other women who made a huge difference. I'm quite proud to be a woman these days and women like Wendy Davis make me even prouder.

Barbara K (60)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 10:49 am
We need more Congresspeople like Wendy Davis. She may have just shown the Dems how to do it in Washington. Just may work to stop the nonsense from coming from the House and show the Dems how to fight back. Great job, Ms. Davis. We need more women in Congress.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 12:08 pm

This lady just put the pride back in Texas!

Thomas P (280)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 12:19 pm
This is a great story Kit. Blessings to her and all the other women whose rights she helped to preserve.

Paul Girardin (126)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 12:42 pm
Noted & shared!

Jim Phillips (3257)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 1:09 pm
Big Thanks and Hugzz for State Senator Wendy Davis (D) Texas

Simply Awesome for what she did! Awesome.

Ty, Kit.

Svetlana B (19)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 3:33 pm
Noted thanks for sharing Kit

jan b (5)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 3:34 pm

Call Wendy to thank her : I-512-463-0110 No substanance for all those hours---via Texas law.
She's a champion of women of all ages.
It shouldn't matter if one is for abortion or against is totally wrong to not allow women to have a control of their own bodies and have a bunch of mainly men take this freedom away from them.

jan b (5)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 3:37 pm
Might be of futhre interest that these cretinous slimeballs in TX , were jacked up by one woman senator who castigated them for indicating that women legislators must raise their hands for permission to speak. This lady had just come from a family funeral to return to the legislative body in support of Wendy.

About time that the people of Texas recognized the value and the potential power of the women of that state.

Gloria p (304)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 4:25 pm
I am developing a Wendy complex!

Mike S (86)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 5:22 pm
A truly courageous and outstanding representative of the people of Texas! Thank you for posting this inspiring news item Kit.

Craig Pittman (52)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 5:55 pm
Good for you Senator Davis. What a bright ray of sunshine!

Kit B (276)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 6:37 pm

Sometimes just when need her, a champion of the people comes along. She has no suit of armor, she isn't wealthy, and sure doesn't need a super hero costume.

Sandra Santana (0)
Wednesday June 26, 2013, 10:35 pm
Of course it took a Woman to stand up for Women's rights of their own bodies. But then how could a man possibly understand the significance of what this means for us women?

Lynn Squance (235)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 3:22 am
Outstanding woman! I watched part of her fillibuster and some of the outlandish tactics from the Lt Gov and some Republican/Teabaggers that tried to stop her on protocol. What a pile of crap. My condolences to all you liberal minded Texans.

Kit I agree that it is a small victory but how long it lasts is another story. Apparently, Slick Rick has called for another special session starting Monday to do the whole thing over again. What a slimy snake!

Kit B (276)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 5:18 am

I watched some of Morning Joe and Joe Scarborough was lamenting that someone standing up for "pro-life" would not gain this level attention. Of course he is wrong, they have gained national attention many times in the past and using that purely emotional appeal have moved this again to a national debate. The major difference being, those who are fighting in the states are not attempting to infringe the rights of anyone, only to allow each person to decide for themselves what will be their own path in life. These laws are patently unconstitutional, as they take freedom from some to assuage the moral conscience of others.

Kit B (276)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 5:21 am

Yes, Lynn voting is scheduled for sometime next week, and Perry has decided there will be no discussion, no debate, no exercise of democracy. Perry will have his way, and the pity the woman that dares to stand for opposition.

Arielle S (313)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 6:08 am
And he gets away with that? How? Time to storm the castle and drag out the snarly old goat...

Mitchell D (104)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 7:20 am
Made that phone call today, spoke to Meghan, in Ms. Davis' office; thanked Wendy on behalf of my Texas relatives, all females and all humans.

Esther Z (94)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 8:25 am
I think this year is becoming the year of the woman! We have Elizabeth Warren taking on the financial industry, Edie Windsor (her case struck down DOMA.), Kirsten Gillibrand and Claire McCaskill who took on the military's sexual harassment and rape scandal, and now our new heroine, Sen. Wendy Davis! We need more women who will stand up to those oppressive and bigoted GOP men!

Kit B (276)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 8:47 am

Yes we do, Esther.

Sheryl G (364)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 11:21 am
My email of thanks went out to Senator Davis.
Email Address to Senator Wendy Davis

Thank you from my Heart!

As a woman who grew up hearing stories of women dying in bathtubs with a coat hanger next to them or screaming in pain on a kitchen table without the help of anesthesia I've been saddened.

We must not return to those days, a woman should have a safe medical procedure if this is needed by her for whatever the reason. Reasons arrived at with a lot of emotional pain and great soul searching. No one walks in the shoes of another.

Thank you for your courage and fortitude for what you have recently done not only for Texas women but for this Country. We've needed your voice! I know it was hard but know that are many who so appreciate it.

You have given this older woman a lot of hope. I don't want my daughter and granddaughter to hear the same stories I heard when I was growing up.

And she did the filibuster as a true Hero unlike those in Washington who do not spend any time on the floor but put a slip of paper in and go home. She along with Bernie Sanders has my upmost Respect. Something surely lacking in my being for a great lot of them.


Angelika R (143)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 12:56 pm
Unbelievable,-yesterday we thank Wendy for her awesome bravery,- TODAY Perry just called a second special session of legislature to pass his lousy abortion ban bill! As Arielle says-time to storm the castle..

Sheryl G (364)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 1:57 pm
Yes, today Perry did what he did, but by Wendy Davis doing what she did she exposes these scumbags to the light. I hope the people do start storming the castles or at least be more careful in who the heck they are voting into office.

Jaime A (51)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 3:13 pm
Noted, thanks..!

Twyla Sparks (208)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 4:01 pm
noted. I love this story we all should be more like her

Katie & Bill D (107)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 9:24 pm
This is Good News for all Women!!
Shows what you can do Ladies!!
Keep it going!! Stand Strong together! IN SOLIDARITY!!
Thank You

Lynn Squance (235)
Thursday June 27, 2013, 10:02 pm
There was another woman Democratic senator whose father had just died and she'd been at the funeral the day of the filibuster. When Wendy Davis was struck out about 11:45, she stood up and asked some questions under parliamentary protocol. One question was why a woman with her hand raised was not acknowledged in a room full of men. She made the point that the Senate was predominantly men yet they were making decisions for women and their bodies. I am sure her outrage was not dissimilar to that of Sandra Fluke and many others when Issa had his little hearing on reproductive rights and birth control when those called to testify were ALL men. Not one woman in the bunch.

Petty insecure men who think they are god!

Past Member (0)
Friday June 28, 2013, 11:29 am
Just got an email. Rick Perry Attacks Wendy Davis he says " She was a teenage Mother herself" So that is some kind of disgrace or crime. These Republicans better wake up or the only people voting for them will be the men in their families.

Sheryl G (364)
Friday June 28, 2013, 12:02 pm
This is Wendy Davis story IN SHORT below. To me it sounds exactly like what the Republicans are always talking about. Taking care of oneself, taking care of one's family, getting an education, contributing back to community and society at large, a real American success story.

Except that for the Republican hypocrites that talk out of both sides of their mouths, they will demonize her because she stood up to their lame brain crap they have been dishing out. I truly hope that Americans will really start seeing what these Fascists types are doing to undermine our Country and individual States.

When they don't get their way they low ball and attack the people on a personal note even if there is no justification for it. Many times it is directed at the women who stand up and speak out on their tactics or the policies that do not meet the best interests of mainstream America. Why they even eat their own if someone will not go way out on the stupidity limb with them.

This is Wendy Davis An Example of a Good American and Woman.

Wendy Davis began working after school at age 14 to help support her single mother and three siblings, according to her campaign website. "By 19, Wendy was a single mother herself, working two jobs to make ends meet in hopes of creating a better life for her young daughter."

She pursued community college, then transferred to Texas Christian University. With the help of scholarships and loans, she graduated first in her class. She went on to graduate with honors from Harvard Law at the age of 33.

Perry on the other hand Perry graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science in animal science.

Ok I like the animals.

Perry was a prankster in college: he once placed live chickens in the closet of an upperclassman during Christmas break and used M-80 firecrackers to prank students using the toilet.

Oh I see he didn't learn much about the proper treatment of chickens with that degree he earned.

You know Gov. Perry, I hope that Wendy Davis does run for Office of Governor, I'd love to see her take your place. Then we'll see who laughs last.

Dana W (9)
Saturday June 29, 2013, 9:50 pm
Thank you Wendy Davis, for standing up for the women of Texas!

Past Member (0)
Saturday June 29, 2013, 10:51 pm
And the say everything is bigger in Texas----but this is the brightest and biggest star yet!

Vallee R (280)
Monday July 1, 2013, 12:25 pm
Dandelion - thanks for the info -

Kit - thanks for the info! Noted.
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