Wendy Davis’s abortion filibuster derailed for wearing back brace, going off-topic
About 11 hours into her 13-hour filibuster to block Texas’s legislation that will close almost all abortion clinics in the state, Wendy Davis’s epic filibuster was derailed by Republicans.
Unlike Rand Paul, who attempted a similarly epic filibuster to protest Obama’s appointment of John Brennan to CIA director, Davis did not call it quits because she had to hit the bathroom. Rather, Texas Republicans disqualified her for breaking state filibuster rules three times. After the third breach of the rules, the code allows the opposing party to call for a vote on the proposed bill. (The vote ended up happening after midnight, thus invalidating the vote, and the bill did NOT pass, thankfully)
But all three violations that Davis supposedly broke sound pretty sketchy.
One of them had to do with the physical rules of filibuster: The speaker isn’t allowed to sit down or lean on a piece of furniture during the entire ordeal. At one point a fellow legislator stepped in and helped her adjust a back brace she was wearing to help her stand for 13 hours. Apparently getting help adjusting it was considered a breach of the rules.
The second two had to do with Davis supposedly going off topic. Davis once mentioned the budget of Planned Parenthood. While it had technically been decided on ahead of time that this was not “germane” to the proposed bill that would shut down all abortion clinics in Texas, this seems insane. How is this not relevant to the conversation? She again veered way off track a second time when she dared discuss a sonogram bill passed in 2011 and how it relates to Texas’s anti-abortion laws. I mean, waaaay off topic! The nerve on this woman!
After Democrats filed an appeal that failed to get her filibuster back on track, voting on the bill started just before the midnight deadline—although Democrats and some reporters insist the voting started after midnight—and the bill passed. It will ban abortions after 20 weeks and threatened to close all but five abortion clinics in Texas, a state of 610,670 square miles. At 3am, it was ruled that the vote didn’t count due to the vote coming after midnight, and that the bill did NOT pass.