Democratic victory over Texas abortion bill may not last
The Democratic victory over Texas’ sweeping abortion legislation may be short lived. Less than a week after Sen. Wendy Davis’ (D-Fort Worth) 11-hour filibuster, which kept the controversial bill from going to a vote Tuesday night, the Texas legislature will again answer Gov. Rick Perry’s call to pass the legislation beginning this afternoon.
The bill, according to a report in the Dallas News, would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, raise abortion clinic standards to that of surgical centers, impose new requirements on abortion-inducing pills and require doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.
The Associated Press reports that 37 of Texas’ 42 abortion clinics do not meet these standards, and would either be forced to relocate, spend millions of dollars for upgrades or close their doors.
While supporters of the bill argue it would protect women’s health, opponents feel it would cripple a Texas woman’s right to choose. "If this passes, abortion would be virtually banned in the state of Texas, and many women could be forced to resort to dangerous and unsafe measures," Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told the AP.
Democrats blocked a vote on the bill late Tuesday night after Wendy Davis filibustered for 11 hours – falling short of her 13-hour mark after it was ruled she had gone off topic. Her fellow Democrats stalled for time with procedural tactics, and opponents of the bill vocally drowned out proceedings on the floor, preventing lawmakers from passing a vote. CNN reports Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst declared the bill dead and the special session over at 3 a.m. on Wednesday.
However, this time around, Republicans intend to begin debate early, so the bill will not run up against the deadline restrictions that doomed its predecessor, according to the Dallas News. It is anticipated that this time, the measure will pass.
“We’re not going to get it back from the House within filibuster range,” Dewhurst told the Dallas News. “We’re going to make sure that we’ve got plenty of time, and no human being can talk for two weeks.”
The Dallas News reports Perry told an anti-abortion group last week he has put “pro-life measures on the top of the list,” and that “until the day Roe vs. Wade is nothing but a shameful footnote in our nation’s history books, we wont give up the good fight.”
But Davis and her associates will not stop fighting, either. “If leaders intend to keep pushing their extreme personal political agenda ahead of the interests of Texas families, I will not back off of my duty to fight on their behalf” she told the Dallas News. She went on to call the battle over abortion “a full-time job.”