Davis had taken to the floor to filibuster S.B. 5, the new strictest-in-the-nation abortion bill that would make the procedure illegal after 20 weeks in the state and create stringent requirements for abortion facilities that critics say would shut downall but five of the state’s clinics.
The day before, the petite, 50-year-old Democrat had announced her intention to stop the bill before it could be voted on by the end of the legislative session,tweeting, “The leadership may not want to listen to TX women, but they will have to listen to me. I intend to filibuster this bill.”
The rules of the filibuster were demanding. Davis would not be allowed to sit, take bathroom breaks, or talk about anything that wasn’t “germane” to the bill. She had 13 hours to kill to make it midnight and block the bill.
By Tuesday afternoon, Davis was trending on Twitter, and fellow Democrats, famous and unknown, were lending their support with the #StandWithWendy hashtag. President Obama weighed in by tweeting, “Something special is happening in Austin tonight.”
Ultimately, in the chaotic hours before midnight, Davis’s filibuster was broken; Republicans alleged that she violated the strict parliamentary rules that limited her to discuss only the bill in question. But the Senate's gallery, packed with protesters, erupted in outcry, shaving more precious time off the clock. The GOP-dominated Senate managed to pass S.B. 5 on party lines even as Democrats and the raucous crowd argued that midnight had indeed come and gone before the vote.
As of early Wednesday, it appears that the Republicans' final vote was taken too late to count. Davis tweeted the S.B. 5 was "dead."
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