With an epic, 10-hour filibuster, Texas Senator Wendy Davis killed Bill 5 — for now.
The Democrat from Fort Worth began her filibuster Tuesday in a bid to stop a Republican-sponsored bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and effectively shut down many abortion clinics in the nation's second most-populated state.
Davis began at 11:18 AM Central Time. If she could stand, talk and not deviate from the topic for almost 13 hours, she would delay the vote beyond midnight — and with it, the 30-day special session deadline.
She was forced to stand down just after 10 PM, leaving fellow Democrats to take up efforts to delay the vote. Amid shouts from hundreds of protesters gathered at the Capitol, midnight came and went — but voting began moments after, at around 12:02 AM Wednesday.
With the votes showing a majority of the Republican-dominated legislature in favor, Bill 5's supporters quickly declared a victory. Challenged over the validity of the vote, the GOP insisted it had taken place before the clock struck 12 — even, according to photos posted online, altering the date stamp on the official senate record.
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Senators were subsequently called back in for a caucus behind closed doors, while protesters maintained their vigil outside.
Shortly after 3 AM, the lieutenant governor of Texas, David Dewhurst, announced that the vote had taken place after the deadline, and therefore was void.
"Senate Bill 5 cannot be signed in the presence of the Senate at this time. Therefore, it cannot be enrolled," Dewhurst said. "It's been fun, but see ya soon."
Governor Rick Perry, who has said he will sign the bill into law if it passes the Senate, may yet call another special legislative session to repeat the vote.
In total, Davis spoke for 10 hours and 45 minutes, ending her filibuster at 10:03 PM after a third point of order was sustained against her.
One of her violations of Senate rules included having a back brace put on her for support by Democratic Sen. Rodney Ellis.
“The tradition of this filibuster in the Senate has always been that you had to do it on your own,” Republican Sen. Tommy Williams said. “Senator Ellis, you’re well aware of that, I believe.”
Davis publicized her plans after the House passed the bill, also known as SB5, on Monday:
Watch the crowd erupting when Dewhurst ruled that Davis' filibuster was in violation of the rules:
And the chants of "Wendy! Wendy!" that greeted the bill being blocked: