Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, spent nearly 13 hours filibustering – that's talking without a break – to block a vote on Senate Bill 5 that would have made Texas's abortion restrictions some of the toughest in the nation.
With hundreds of protestors packed into the Capitol building in Austin, Davis continued speaking until her fellow lawmakers' attempts to stop her filibuster finally succeeded in three "strikes" – twice she was called out for veering off topic and once she was reprimanded for getting assistance from another senator to put on a back brace.
"Today was democracy in action," Davis said after the vote was blocked. "You all are the voices we were speaking for from the floor."
Lawmakers were required to vote on Senate Bill 5 before the end of the legislature's special session at midnight. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst expressed frustration that the vote was blocked and that hundreds of protestors were in attendance.
"An unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics derailed legislation that was intended to protect women and babies," The Texas Tribune reported he told reporters.
Meanwhile he also Tweeted:
Spirited DebateAnd the Twitterverse followed the filibuster, with everyone from President Obama to Ricky Gervais and Lena Dunham weighing in:
Thanks to the powerful voices of thousands of Texans, #SB5 is dead. An incredible victory for Texas women and those who love them.— Wendy Davis (@WendyDavisTexas) June 26, 2013
Dear @WendyDavisTexas- we are so grateful and proud. Side note: I just stood up for around 25 minutes and found it physically challenging.— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) June 26, 2013
Not everyone was happy about Davis's efforts:
Just received word that blue pro-life shirts are 2 to 1 over the orange abortion supporters at the Capitol. #PassSB5— HaysGOP225 (@haysGOP225) June 23, 2013
Gov. Rick Perry may call another session to get the bill passed, which bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, imposes surgical center requirements for clinics and requires that doctors performing abortions have hospital credentials among other things. Supporters of the bill maintain it increases the level of medical care women will receive in Texas and those opposed insist it will close down nearly every abortion clinic in the state.
Davis told the crowd afterwards that she believed in her efforts no matter what the ultimate outcome.
"My back hurts," she said. "And I don't have a whole lot of words left."