I’m sorry, but that was just intense and crazy and I have to write about it before I can go to sleep.
If you JUST MISSED THIS, Senator Wendy Davis started a filibuster in the Texas state senate today against Senate Bill 5, known to the internet as #sb5. I started paying attention around 4 PM our time, and she had to get until midnight (10) our time in order to block a vote in the Republican-majority senate. This bill argues, for the sake of the safety and health of women and the pain and suffering of fetuses, certain very tight standards and restrictions on abortion clinics throughout the state. Senator Davis argued that these standards would actually close most clinics and prevent safe care from those who need it most.
Anyway, the actual talking she did was minimal, because the Republicans were eagle-eyed in bringing up every single point they could to declare she was filibustering against the rules, and declaring things like ultrasounds and Roe v. Wade as “not germane” to the bill at hand. The Democratic cohort was also spending a lot of time clarifying, asking long questions, and generally trying to be helpful.
ANYWAY, the whole thing started to go to absolute ding-dong land around 11:15 (Texas time) when there was a twenty minute discussion over parlimentary procedural hooplas, and votes were taken to table motions for appeals of previous point of procedures (if that’s even the right nomenclature).
At 11:35 or so, the Democratic senator Watson was giving a longwinded preface to his obligation to table a motion (thus ending the filibuster) when a Republican senator jumped in and somehow managed to start the voting mid-speech. This caused quite a consternation and at 11:48 or so, a beautiful female senator (let me pause to get this right), said:
And the gallery went
And they cheered and clapped and screamed and the senate president intelligently said, “We won’t continue unless we have order” and they gallery went EVEN MORE NUTS.
And then it was MIDNIGHT and Twitter went crazy saying “Aaron Sorkin couldn’t have written this better!” “We’re crying!” “Success!” “The Stanley Cup was nothing to this!”
There was this mosh pit of senators at the dais and a roll call was being called and then some were shouting “You can’t do this!” and the crowd was still going nuts and the three thousand people crowded into the rotunda outside the chambers were going nuts and THEN the senate president just left the floor, and nobody knows what just happened.
Some Republicans were like, “We voted before 12!” And some senators had no idea what they were voting on because (actually) the previous motion left to be voted on had nothing to do with the actual bill. There are screenshots flying around Twitter of before/after shots of the official computer voting system where the TIME AND DATE were changed an hour later, and state troopers are arresting protesters who are chanting and old ladies are being led away in handcuffs and the senate is still legally in session because nobody ever made a motion for recess . . .
As someone on Twitter said, “@mshannabrooks: Beginning to feel like the Texas Senate is a little like CalvinBall — the rules are different every time, and no girls are allowed. #sb5”
Anyway, no major news source picked this up AT ALL even though the Texas Tribune’s livestream on YouTube peaked at almost 200,000 views at once and there are hundreds of arrests going on as we speak.
This made the GOP look really, really bad and the president of the Texas Senate look really dumb and misogynistic.
It really made me want to run for congress or something, because seriously. SERIOUSLY.
Oh, and by the way, Senator Davis lasted the whole time without eating, drinking, sitting, leaning, or peeing. And Senator Van de Putte came straight from her father’s funeral. So there you go.
And if I never hear “Parlimentary Inquiry” again, I would be happy. But it seems like it would be so much FUN to say it to the Texas Senate president.
It did bother me on Twitter that the two responses were either “Support Wendy!” or “You are all baby killers!” I’d like to point out that pro-choice supporters are not ravenous serial baby killers. What they acknowledge are the facts Senator Davis quoted and which led to the landmark congressional acts that led to Roe v. Wade: the existence or non-existence of abortion clinics does not increase, decrease, or otherwise affect the number of abortions attempted. It has been proven that the existence of abortion clinics DOES increase the number of women who survive the procedure and decrese the mutilation and death of said women. In fact the existence of clinics that provide abortions also increases the overall resources and care for those women who historically tend to consider abortion and provide alternatives.
I will explain elsewhere my opinion on the more fundamental issues at hand if the whim takes me, but I do feel that whether or not you support the ACT of abortion you should seriously consider the REALITY of abortion and the results of it in our society.