Wendy Davis filibuster helps Democrats kill Texas abortion bill
Texas State Senator Wendy Davis spoke for more than 10 hours in a marathon filibuster that helped Democrats block the passage of a GOP bill that critics say would have forced most of the abortion clinics in Texas to shut down.
The bill known as SB 5, which is expected to be proposed again during the next legislative session, would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and require many abortion clinics to upgrade their facilities and adhere to the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. Doctors who perform abortions would need to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.
Critics say the bill's strict provisions would have forced 37 of the state's 42 abortion clinics to close. Proponents say the restrictions are necessary to protect women's health and safety.
Davis began speaking at around 11am with the goal of filibustering until midnight, when the Texas Legislature's 30-day special legislative session was set to expire. She was stopped two hours short of her goal after Texas Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst ruled that she violated filibuster rules by straying off topic. Democrats appealed the ruling, sparking parliamentary maneuvers that prevented the Republican-dominated Texas Senate from voting on the bill until after midnight.
Texas Governor Rick Perry had promised to sign the bill.
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