Special session ends, filibuster thwarted on abortion bill
Austin, TX (KTSM) — Texas Senator Wendy Davis' 10-hour plus abortion filibuster is over. Davis was forced to give up the floor after she was found to be in violation of rules for the third time.
The Democratic senator had spoken nearly 11 hours to block a republican-led effort that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation and close most abortion clinics in the state, including El Paso's only two clinics.
Davis wore tennis shoes as she began her filibuster at 11:18 CST, and stayed standing through the evening.
"The alleged reason for the bill is to enhance patient safety. But what they really do is create provisions that treat women as though they are not capable of making their own medical decision."
In order to derail the vote, she had to keep speaking on the bill until midnight Central time, which is the deadline for the end of the 30-day special session.
Under Texas filibuster rules, Davis had to stay standing, with no leaning and no bathroom breaks.
But just before 10 p.m. CST, Davis was found to have violated filibuster rules for the third time by starting discussion on a separate, but related bill on sonograms.
Earlier in the evening, El Paso State Sent. Jose Rodriguez sent a statement supporting her efforts, saying he was also prepared to filibuster if he was needed.
"There has been one good outcome of this debate. It has inspired Texans to be involved in the political process -- from reaching out to their legislators to coming to the Capitol -- to oppose the passage of SB 5," he said.
If this bill passes, only five of the 42 clinics in Texas would remain open because of a rule that they be ambulatory surgery centers.
None of them are in El Paso.
NewsChannel 9 called the two clinics that would be affected here, including Hilltop Family Planning.
They have not returned our calls for comment.
Davis told the floor earlier tonight, she felt there could be trouble for the state if the law passes.
"There will be lawsuits, if this bill were to go into law," she said.
Watch the special session's last moments live from our news partners at the Texas Tribune.