Wendy Davis begins filibuster to stop omnibus abortion bill (Video)
By Christy Hoppe
11:59 am on June 25, 2013
Live video via Texas Tribune.
Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, kicked-off an intended 13-hour filibuster to stop sweeping restrictions on abortion from moving to the governor’s desk.
Before a packed gallery bedecked in supportive orange shirts, Davis decried the pending legislation, which must be voted on by midnight to pass.
“I’m rising on the floor today to humbly give voice to thousands of Texans who have been ignored,” Davis said.
“These voices have been silenced by a governor who made blind partisanship and person political ambition the official business of our great state,” she said.
The bill is touted by supporters for raising the level of care for women, but detractors say it is designed to shut down clinics and push doctors away from performing the procedure.
Under the bill, abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy would be banned, all clinics would be required to be upgraded to high-standard surgical centers, doctors would need admitting privileges at hospitals and new restrictions would be placed on abortion-inducing pill procedures.
Davis, referencing a Tweet by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, said the real plan was not to help women, but to shut down clinics. Dewhurst had made such a reference, saying the reason for the bill was that more than 30 clinics would be closed down under the new regulations.
She said the bill would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, impose new regulations without any medical basis and eliminate safe and legal abortions to poor women and those who could not travel.
The intent, Davis said, “is to force the closure of multiple facilities across the state of Texas without a single care or concern for the women whose lives will be impacted by that decision.”
Taking aim at the Republican leadership, Davis said that the bill, passed without accepting any amendments designed to mitigate the most devastating effects, is to feed a narrow political interest.
“Partisanship and ambition is not unusual in this state Capitol, but here in Texas, right now it has risen to a level of profound irresponsibility and the raw abuse of power,” Davis said.
Wendy Davis' filibuster countdown
http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/ ... -bill.html
Texas Vote Passing Abortion Bill Is Rendered Moot
Eric Gay/Associated Press
State Senator Wendy Davis started a filibuster at 11:18 a.m. Tuesday in the hope of holding the floor by talking until the Senate’s special session ended at midnight.
By MANNY FERNANDEZ and ERIK ECKHOLM
Published: June 26, 2013
AUSTIN, Tex. — Hours after claiming that they successfully passed some of the toughest abortion restrictions in the country, Republican lawmakers reversed course on Wednesday and said a disputed late-night vote on the bill did not follow legislative procedures, rendering the vote moot and giving Democrats a bitterly fought if short-lived victory.
A sonogram at the Whole Woman’s Health Surgical Center in San Antonio, one of five Texas abortion clinics that would meet tighter abortion restrictions under a Texas bill. Opponents of the legislation said it would force 37 other clinics to close.
The reversal capped a remarkable day in the Texas Legislature here. A petite Fort Worth Democrat in pink sneakers staged a 10-hour-plus filibuster marathon in which she never sat down. Abortion rights activists succeeded in disrupting Republican senators, and the fate of a bill that Gov. Rick Perry had made a priority devolved into a legislative mess so thick that even senators who had voted on the bill could not say for certain whether they had indeed voted on the bill.
The state Senate’s vote came right at a midnight Tuesday deadline, amid widespread confusion the noise of a chanting crowd of the bill’s opponents in an upstairs gallery. Senate Democrats said the vote took place past the deadline at 12:02 a.m. or 12:03 a.m., while Republicans disputed those claims, saying the vote was legitimate.
But at 3 a.m., Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the presiding officer of the Senate and a Republican supporter of the bill, told lawmakers and reporters that although the bill passed on a 19-to-10 vote, the bill could not be signed in the presence of the Senate and was therefore dead, blaming “an unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics” as the primary cause.
“With all the ruckus and noise going on,” Mr. Dewhurst said, he could not complete administrative duties to make the vote official and sign the bill. Senate Democrats and women’s right’s advocates said the real reason the vote could not be made official was a time stamp on official documents that showed the bill passed after midnight. The Legislature’s official Web site first posted that the Senate’s vote occurred on Wednesday, after the midnight deadline, but the date was later changed to Tuesday for unknown reasons.
The reversal served as an embarassing episode for Mr. Dewhurst and Republican senators on a divisive bill that was closely watched around the nation, both by anti-abortion activists and supporters of abortion rights.
“The G.O.P. Senate leadership comes out of this whole process looking somewhat disingenuous, deceptive and disorganized,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.
In the final minutes before the midnight deadline, Republican senators had interrupted a filibuster that began at 11 a.m. But their attempts to push forward with a vote on the bill caused the bill’s opponents in the gallery to erupt into screams and cheers. Attempts to bring about order failed.
It was in those chaotic moments that Republicans initially said the vote was taken and the bill approved. But after hours of closed-door meetings, Mr. Dewhurst signaled defeat in passing the bill, and as word trickled out with the news, hundreds of the bill’s opponents who had camped out in the Capitol rotunda and in the hallways erupted into loud applause.
The bill sought to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers and mandate that a doctor who performs abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
Supporters of the bill, including Governor Perry and other top Republicans, said the measures would protect women’s health and hold clinics to safe standards, but women’s right’s advocates said the legislation amounted to an unconstitutional, politically motivated attempt to shut legal abortion clinics. The bill’s opponents said it will likely cause all but five of the 42 abortion clinics in the state to close, because the building renovations and equipment upgrades necessary to meet the surgical-center standards would be too costly.
Republicans, who control both the state Senate and House, will likely have a second chance at the bill. The governor, who called the special session and put the abortion bill on the agenda, may now call a second special session and once again tell lawmakers to consider the bill, known as Senate Bill 5. Political analysts said the bill will likely pass if a second special session is called, not only because of the large number of Republicans supporting it, but because the increased time will limit the delaying tactics that can be tried by Democrats.
Enlarge This Image
Erich Schlegel for The New York Times
Women’s rights advocates waited to attend the Senate session.
Clinics in Jeopardy
The bill sought to make Texas the 12th state to bar most abortions at 20 weeks after fertilization and later — a step that has been blocked in three states so far as unconstitutional. The more pressing concern for clinic managers and advocates for women’s rights was the requirement that all 42 abortion clinics in the state be licensed as ambulatory surgery centers.
Five clinics performing late-term abortions already meet that standard. But for most of the remaining 37, the new restriction would require costly renovations or relocation to meet architectural and equipment requirements. The five clinics are located in large cities – Austin, San Antonio and Dallas each have one, and Houston has two. The burden on those five clinics to provide women’s health services will be extreme, and women in rural areas and small towns far from those cities will be underserved, advocates for abortion rights said.
Two clinics in McAllen and Harlingen in South Texas – the only abortion providers in the area – would close if the bill had passed, they said, forcing women seeking abortions to travel a few miles across the border into Mexico rather than drive four hours to San Antonio, both for surgical procedures and abortion-inducing drugs.
“We know that it would shut down dozens of clinics in the state of Texas, a state of 26 million people, and there will be women who cannot reach a health care provider to get reproductive health care for hundreds of miles,” said Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and a daughter of Ann W. Richards, the former Texas governor. “This is the thing that’s frightening. Women will do whatever they have to do to take care of themselves.”
The Senate convened shortly after 11 a.m. to take up the version of the bill that the House had already passed. The Fort Worth Democrat, Senator Wendy Davis, began talking at 11:18 a.m. in a filibuster attempt to prevent lawmakers from voting on the bill before the midnight deadline. She spoke for hours in the carpeted chamber. Senate rules set strict requirements on how she could perform a filibuster – she was forbidden from straying off topic or sitting in her chair, for example – and if she was found to have violated the rules three times, her filibuster would effectively come to an end.
Ms. Davis is something of a filibuster star among Texas Democrats. At the end of the legislative term in 2011, she forced Mr. Perry to call a special session after her filibuster ran the clock out on a budget bill that included cuts in public education. But at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, 11 hours after she first stood up, Mr. Dewhurst sustained a violation against her for straying off the topic. It was her third violation. As the senators debated the next steps, Ms. Davis remained standing, because it was uncertain whether the filibuster had officially ended.
Democrats accused Mr. Dewhurst of going back on his earlier statements that he would bring the end of the filibuster to a vote if Ms. Davis had three violations. As the clock neared midnight and the crowd erupted, several Democratic senators said they believed they were voting on a procedural matter when the vote for the abortion bill was taken. “I don’t mind losing fair and square, but this has been a total sham and mockery of the rules,” said State Senator Leticia Van de Putte, a San Antonio Democrat.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, the president of Whole Woman’s Health, which operates abortion and women’s health clinics in Texas and two other states, said the bill would force her to shut down the group’s five clinics in Texas. One of them, in San Antonio, complies with ambulatory surgical center requirements, but Ms. Hagstrom Miller said it had operated at an annual loss of $400,000 since opening two years ago.
Ms. Hagstrom Miller said opening clinics that met the new requirements would be financially untenable. “I believe in providing really compassionate, medically acceptable care, but why would I do it in Texas? I will surely look elsewhere,” she said.
Another of the group’s clinics is the one in McAllen, close to the Mexican border. It was quiet outside the McAllen clinic on Tuesday afternoon, but the area is heavily Catholic, and there is strong opposition to abortion. Signs protesting the clinic are posted on the building next door.
Already a large number of women cross the border to obtain abortion-inducing drugs in Mexico, Ms. Hagstrom Miller said, and she expects the number to rise if the clinic closes.
“We’ve already seen women taking matters into their own hands,” she said, because of an existing state requirement of a 24-hour waiting period for abortions, which forces women to go to the clinic twice. Many women seeking abortions, she said, are already mothers and do not have the time or money to travel long distances for the procedure.
“I’ve seen women who asked their partners to punch them in the stomach repeatedly,” Ms. Hagstrom Miller said, adding that she believed the law and widespread closings of clinics would force more women to attempt “self-induced abortions.”
Dewhurst: I’ll pass the late-term abortion ban — and “take action against” those who incited demonstration
posted at 7:21 pm on June 28, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
In an exclusive* Hot Air interview, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst of Texas insists that the attempt to hijack the legislative process by pro-abortion activists this week will not stop the state from passing a limitation on late-term abortions and requirements for clinics to meet the same standards as other ambulatory surgical centers. Dewhurst also says that his office is reviewing the security tapes from the demonstration that derailed the bill at the end of the regular session, and that arrests may be made for inciting a riot — including perhaps some members of the media.
“I had the votes,” Dewhurst told me, “I had the strategy.” He had wanted the Senate to tackle the bill, SB5, a little earlier in the session to prevent the obstructionism that he foresaw. When it came time to clear the galleries, Dewhurst lacked the resources to finish the job on time. “These are common sense … measures that the majority, the big majority of Texans support,” Dewhurst insisted, “so I was frustrated. I’m not going to let a minority group of demonstrators — Planned Parenthood and ACLU — block the will of the majority. And I will pass this bill.”
Dewhurst talked about how the “ugly mob … went wild,” and ripped the media for its coverage of the event. When I asked whether the same media would provide the glowing coverage of a demonstration where Tea Party activists blocked a tax increase, Dewhurst said, “Absolutely not.” Dewhurst went on to tell me that he suspects that reporters may have helped incite the crowd to riot, and that his office plans on reviewing security tapes to identify any individuals who did.
“We have reports, and I have my staff taking a look at the video,” Dewhurst explained, “and if I find, as I’ve been told, examples of the media waving and trying to inflame the crowd, incite them in the direction of a riot, I’m going to take action against them.” Dewhurst continued, “We take a democratic policy seriously.” I asked whether Dewhurst could confirm whether members of the media took part in pushing the demonstration forward. “We have reports that members of the media on the floor, on the floor of the Senate, were looking up at the people in the gallery, waving their hands, trying to motivate them to yell more,” he replied. “If I find examples of that, proof certain on our video,” Dewhurst warned, “I’m going to address this firmly.”
Dewhurst says he’s prepared for the next attempt to derail the legislature. “I expect some demonstrations,” he said. Texas does have an open-meetings policy, but he can determine — at least in the Senate, where he presides — whether a threat to public safety exists. If visitors attempt another demonstration, “I’m going to clear the gallery.” In lieu of access to the Senate, Dewhurst will set up a closed-circuit video feed to committee rooms to those interested in observing rather than demonstrating. “We’re all for openness and transparency,” Dewhurst said, “but if you’re having a demonstration which is going to impede the legislature from moving forward, I’m perfectly at ease with clearing the gallery with our state police.”
Dewhurst plans to combat the media coverage with grassroots support on Twitter and other social media. He will ask pro-life supporters to use #Stand4Life hashtag while the Texas legislature is in session. He reviewed the possible timing of the bill, which has to start from scratch in both chambers because of the new special session, although the specific timing may prove somewhat different. Either way, Dewhurst pledges that he will pass the ban on late-term abortions and require abortionists to meet the same standards as all other ambulatory surgical centers meet in Texas. “I’m a strong believer in values.”
* – Using the media definition of “exclusive,” which means no one else was on the call at the time.
Update: Elizabeth “The Anchoress” Scalia compares red shoes to pink sneakers, although I called them orange in the interview:A pope choosing to wear red shoes reminds us that Peter, in every iteration, proceeds through the blood of those who have gone before him — the martyrs who have been slainand are still being slain for the sake of Christ.
Likewise, a pro-abortion flame-fanner choosing to wear #standwithWendy pink — “rouge red” — sneakers reminds us that she proceeds through the red blood and shredded pink tissue, sucked out brains, collapsed skulls and snipped necks of those who will never be — human beings who have been slain, and are being slain, martyrs for the sake of…well…not Christ?
You can tell a lot about people by the kind of shoes they mock and sneer at, and the kind they celebrate and gush over.
Fascinating to consider, as well, which person you would trust with your life, or the life of your child, or the life of your elderly mother.
The distraction of the shoes. If you talk about the shoes, and get other people talking about the shoes, you don’t actually have to talk about what the wearers are saying.
Who knew shoes could be so instructive? Lessons worth absorbing.
Update: There was some initial confusion over the word “arrest,” but after a couple of reviews, my original take was accurate. It’s been put back the way it was.
The Eyes of Texas
The night my alma mater finally made sense
By Abby Johnston, 4:47PM, Thu. Jun. 27
http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/mu ... -of-texas/
elfismiles » 29 Jun 2013 16:10 wrote::mad2Dewhurst: I’ll pass the late-term abortion ban — and “take action against” those who incited demonstration
posted at 7:21 pm on June 28, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
about an hour ago
These 4 Livestreams are up NOW at the Capitol
... http://ustre.am/G2Wf (outside)
We have more that will be coming online later in the day. Stay Tuned
Social Media: http://www.riseuptx.org/social-media-co ... -july-1st/
Twitter List for Allies: https://twitter.com/drublood/the-kbv2-umob-list
General Info: http://www.riseuptx.org/
Pro-Choice Texans Back 'People's Filibuster' in Austin
A 'fuse has been lit' against anti-choice measures
- Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer
Image via Twitter / DXHenderson
Thousands of Texans are rallying once again in Austin on Monday as lawmakers continue to debate a hotly contested anti-abortion bill that was blocked by a "people's filibuster" on the state Senate floor last week.
Thousands of protesters on both sides of the debate are expected throughout the day in the city including over 5,000 people who signed up for the "Stand With Texas Women" rally.
The rally began at noon on the steps of the Capitol building.
Last week a large group of pro-choice activists performed a "people's filibuster" in which hundreds of orange-clad abortion-rights activists in the legislature's gallery "began roaring louder and louder until they literally shouted down the final minutes of the 30-day special session before Republicans could pass the bill," the Texas Observer reported at the time.
"A fuse has been lit in Austin, and there is growing opposition across the state to these attacks that endanger women's health and safety."
The people's filibuster followed Senate Democrat Wendy Davis's 10-hour filibuster of the same bill. The combined efforts blocked the controversial bill, SB 5, for the time being.
The legislation would have banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and would have closed all but five of the state's abortion clinics, similar to a law passed in Ohio over the weekend.
However, Texas Governor Rick Perry called for a new legislative session to push the bill forward directly following the filibuster.
As the Guardian reports, the bill is not expected to see results anytime soon but protesters on both sides of the debate are expected to rally throughout the day.
"Once again Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst are attacking the constitutional rights of women in Texas," the group Stand with Texas Women said on their Facebook page.
On Tuesday, Sen. Wendy Davis and the Senate Democrats stood together to stop harmful legislation from passing in the Texas Senate. Thanks to your voice and the voices of thousands, women in Texas won!
Now we must stand together again to demand justice for all women in Texas. Join us Monday, July 1st at 12 noon at the Texas Capitol to have your voice heard! Stand with us, grab your orange gear and join us in Austin.
"A fuse has been lit in Austin, and there is growing opposition across the state to these attacks that endanger women's health and safety," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
"Men and women across the country are standing with the women of Texas today as the legislature again takes up this extreme measure that would shut down most clinics in the state," said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project.
"Politicians in Texas and around country remain laser-focused on banning abortion and interfering in a woman's private medical decisions," she continued. "We can't let that happen. We join Texas women and women throughout the nation to say enough is enough."
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