Texas senator Wendy Davis filibusters against abortion bill

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Texas' lieutenant governor has suspended a filibuster against wide-ranging abortion restrictions, but Democrats moved quickly to appeal the decision.


Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made the decision Tuesday night after determining that Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis strayed off the topic.

Democrats immediately appealed the decision and set off a heated debate about the rules and whether they could vote on the bill.

Wearing pink tennis shoes to prepare for nearly 13 consecutive hours of standing, a Democrat Wendy Davis began a one-woman filibuster to block a GOP-led effort that would impose stringent new abortion restrictions across the nation's second-most populous state.

Davis, 50, of Fort Worth began the filibuster at 11:18 a.m. CDT Tuesday .

Before Davis began speaking, her chair was removed. CBSDFW.com reports that Davis must speak continuously — and stay on topic — the entire time. She is not allowed to lean against something for support. And she will not be able to stop or take a break, not even for meals or the restroom, during the entire 13-hour ordeal.

If signed into law, the measures would close almost every abortion clinic in Texas, a state 773 miles wide and 790 miles long with 26 million people. A woman living along the Mexico border or in West Texas would have to drive hundreds of miles to obtain an abortion if the law passes.


continue to source article at cbsnews.com

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    • In reply to #1 by Roedy:

      I don’t think the filibuster is a legitimate tool. These restrictions are working against me in this case, but I would hope such rules would be used to weaken federal filibusters.

      I wouldn’t be so hard on filibustering. It’s rarely employed, but from time to time, it has its place. Almost by definition, a filibuster will only happen when legislation is being proposed that will have extreme or far reaching consequences.

      If we assume there are two contentious issues – one from the left and one from the the right, then I would prefer to see them both fail (as a result of filibustering, if necessary) than both be passed.

      • In reply to #7 by GPWC:

        Real, talking filibusters (like this one) are legitimate, IMO. In the US congress, the conditions on filibustering are far too weak and are routinely abused. IIRC, all one needs is an occasional quorum call, and one can remain seated and silent. It’s also possible for a group of, say, five members of congress to take shifts. It has created a de facto requirement for 60 of 100 votes, which prevents action being taken.

        The guys at Daily Kos have done some in depth (though obviously leftish and somewhat partisan) analysis and reporting on the subject.

      • In reply to #7 by GPWC:

        In reply to #1 by Roedy:

        I don’t think the filibuster is a legitimate tool. These restrictions are working against me in this case, but I would hope such rules would be used to weaken federal filibusters.

        I wouldn’t be so hard on filibustering. It’s rarely employed, but from time to time, it has…

        Given that it’s a manipulation rather than a sound argument, I don’t hold the filibuster in high regard. Even if it is necessary on occasion, it’s a trick when all’s said and done. The mere fact that it is used indicates that a so-called democratic process is flawed (after all, if you need to resort to such a tactic in the first place, then what does that say about either the one doing it or the ones it’s being done to?).

        • In reply to #32 by Zeuglodon:

          Given that it’s a manipulation rather than a sound argument, I don’t hold the filibuster in high regard. Even if it is necessary on occasion, it’s a trick when all’s said and done. The mere fact that it is used indicates that a so-called democratic process is flawed (after all, if you need to resort to such a tactic in the first place, then what does that say about either the one doing it or the ones it’s being done to?).

          I think one way to get rid of filibustering and much of the issues with left and right politics is to outlaw party politics all together. Make it illegal to represent a party. You can only run on issues and positions that you hold as an individual. It should be about what each candidate will do, not what their party wants. Mention or affiliation to a party or ideology should be outlawed.

  1. “her chair was removed… Davis must speak continuously — and stay on topic — the entire time. She is not allowed to lean against something for support. And she will not be able to stop or take a break, not even for meals or the restroom, during the entire 13-hour ordeal”
    What are they, little children playing silly games…? Or just retarded? How about doing 50 pushups and 50 situps while singing the anthem every 15 minutes.

    • In reply to #9 by locka:

      While I support her opposition it is pitiful that it requires a filibuster (basically an anti-democratic measure) to scupper such a dumb bill in the first place.

      I cannot see that a filibuster is per se anti-democratic. Used properly, it is a way to buy time to persuade representatives and alert and the general public when an attempt is made to ram an objectionable measure through on a technical majority, at short notice, in the middle of the night, etc. Democracy is rule by the people, not inherently rule by strategically timed, self-selecting, geographically manipulated surveys of public opinion aggregated in a non-proportional way.

  2. Filibustering is a silly and vaguely undemocratic concept, although I totally back Wendy Davis’ stance, and understand her using whatever tools the legislation permits her to use.

    What is more worrying is that (on being re-introduced) this bill, which I understand is opposed by 80% of Texans, might actually pass.

  3. Ruck Perry, the religious moron, has dismissed this woman as mere ” window dressing ” in the past.

    Seemingly something is being said here by Perry that is reflective of not only his attitude but many like attitudes in this state.

  4. Filibustering isn’t awesome but as we can see it is some times needed to defeat the tyranny of the majority. It’s amazing that people run for election not to govern the state for the people but to impose their crazy onto others that want nothing of it. I don’t feel sorry for them at all and it’s a 2 way street.

    This was also a real filibuster unlike the read a phone book and take as many breaks as you like in their federal system.

  5. In reply to #4 by vytas:

    “her chair was removed… Davis must speak continuously — and stay on topic — the entire time. She is not allowed to lean against something for support. And she will not be able to stop or take a break, not even for meals or the restroom, during the entire 13-hour ordeal”
    What are they, little chi…

    I wonder if this is why George W. Bush was so quick to defend waterboarding and other torture techniques when it was revealed this was what the military was getting up to in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere during his tenure as Commander in Chief.

    If cruel and unusual punishment is de rigueur in the senate of the state whose governorship Bush once held, he must have wondered what all the fuss was about when the story broke.

    “Yeah, we make the prisoners think they’re drowning… but they’re given regular pee breaks!”


    How is talking about a sonogram bill passed in 2011 and the way in which new abortion restrictions compound anti-abortion laws in Texas deviating from the subject in any way?

    Nicholas Parsons [PBUH] would never have allowed that challenge.

  6. With a 20-35% survival rate of babies born at just 23 weeks, I see no issue with the 20 week limit. I might even like to see it lowered. Unless the health of the mother or perhaps even quality of life of the child (it has no brain) is in question, I see no reason why abortion should be legal beyond this point. It doesn’t take a rape victim 20 weeks to figure out they have been raped nor does it take a careless shagger 20 weeks to figure it out.

    • In reply to #16 by aquilacane:

      With a 20-35% survival rate of babies born at just 23 weeks, I see no issue with the 20 week limit. I might even like to see it lowered. Unless the health of the mother or perhaps even quality of life of the child (it has no brain) is in question, I see no reason why abortion should be legal beyond…

      Apart from your assertion that a 20-week-old fetus doesn’t have a brain, I’m inclined to agree.

      • In reply to #17 by Katy Cordeth:

        In reply to #16 by aquilacane:

        Apart from your assertion that a 20-week-old fetus doesn’t have a brain, I’m inclined to agree.

        I think you may have misunderstood me. I wasn’t asserting that a 20 week old had no brain but rather I was for abortion after 20 weeks if something was wrong with the fetus that would lead to a terrible quality of life, such as no brain or non functioning brain.

        • In reply to #24 by aquilacane:

          In reply to #17 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #16 by aquilacane:

          Apart from your assertion that a 20-week-old fetus doesn’t have a brain, I’m inclined to agree.

          I think you may have misunderstood me. I wasn’t asserting that a 20 week old had no brain but rather I was for abortion after 20 weeks if…

          I understand now. My mistake.

    • In reply to #16 by aquilacane:

      With a 20-35% survival rate of babies born at just 23 weeks, I see no issue with the 20 week limit. I might even like to see it lowered.

      The UK debated a reduction from the current 24 weeks to 20 weeks in Parliament in 2008 and voted to leave it unchanged. This position was backed by every single medical professional body.

      To give an example (which was true in the case of my son, now 4) a routine blood test in pregnancy might indicate a possible risk of the baby having Downs syndrome, and to investigate further an amniocentesis test is sometimes recommended. This cannot take place until 15 or 16 weeks or it does not work. It can take a further three weeks to get a definitive result as a culture has to be grown and analysed in a lab. So you could end up faced with a decision of whether or not to abort at 19 weeks, leaving you practically no time to think about it, get any appropriate counselling, arrange the operation, and actually have it take place before a 20 week limit. And all that assumes there is no loss of a day or two here and there on the way with statutory holidays or messages going astray or waiting times at the hospital and suchlike. The pressures on the parents that result could be unbearable.

      I make these points without discussing one way or the other whether it is right to terminate a pregnancy on determining that the baby will have Downs.

      • In reply to #29 by Stevehill:

        The UK debated a reduction from the current 24 weeks to 20 weeks in Parliament in 2008 and voted to leave it unchanged. This posi…

        Thanks Steve for that. It’s a pity the law makers don’t care about children and families just their jesus. Life’s more complicated that some can imagine, bad shit actually has to happen to them for them to understand – even if they’ve been told. Pathetic and certainly not worthy law makers.

        In reply to #16 by aquilacane:

        With a 20-35% survival rate of babies born at just 23 weeks, I see no issue with the 20 week limit. I might even like to see it lowered.

        aquilacane – “survival rate” presumably that “survive” standard includes severely mentally and physically disabled that will not “survive” long. Not sure if “survive” is actually a high enough standard for me, how about you? I wonder what the figure for some less quixotic standard would be?

        • In reply to #30 by alaskansee:

          aquilacane – “survival rate” presumably that “survive” standard includes severely mentally and physically disabled that will not “survive” long. Not sure if “survive” is actually a high enough standard for me, how about you? I wonder what the figure for some less quixotic standard would be?

          My concern is that a fetus that can survive suggests it is already a viable form of functioning life and not just a clump of cells. I accept that the surviving baby may have complications but we are discussing termination of a baby that would presumably develop to where those complications are greatly reduced if not aborted. For me, the fact that it can survive outside the womb is a big hands off. Maybe under 500g birth weight should be a cut off. That seems to be the lowest survivable birth weight. I’m not sure but around the 20 week mark starts to get into the murder zone for me and I don’t accept difficult life or bad choices as suitable argument for murder.

          • In reply to #33 by aquilacane:

            Thanks for the comments but you’ve made a mistake, this was a thread on abortion not murder. Do you need a dictionary definition or did you just want to stop the conversation? I’m not sure we’ve had a post on the death penalty lately?

            As I mentioned already I do not think that your standard is too low for you but that would be a pathetic way to govern wouldn’t it? I’ve always driven at 160 km/hr and never had an accident…

            Remember we’re specifically discussing the US, ideal MEDICAL circumstances are few and far between in the land of the free. Let alone the ACCEPTABILITY of the “survival rate” standard that Terry Shivo (sp?) gave us. This is a discussion about the worst case scenario and the ability to give the fetus as much chance of survival as possible without having to put a sentient being through months of torture and no comprehension before suffocating to death. Never knowing what love, parents, comfort, warmth or even touch was. Remember most people have nothing invested in dipping them in water before their agonising death.

            My earlier comments asked why some people find it hard to imagine stuff that hasn’t yet happened to them, perhaps you could tell us?

            For a laugh I will also include the apparently startling fact that; No one wants an abortion but some people need them. Banning abortions over 20 weeks does nothing for the vast majority of “on demand” abortions, it’s for the tiny proportion of o fuck abortions. Accepting abortions but stipulating your time limit based on uninformed non-medical opinion is lame.

            In reply to #30 by alaskansee:

            aquilacane – “survival rate” presumably that “survive” standard includes severely mentally and physically disabled that will not “survive” long. Not sure if “survive” is actually a high enough standard for me, how about you? I wonder what the figure for some less quix…

            Final edit -

            Sorry forgot to mention while I was commenting on the worst case scenario you slipped into; ” we are discussing termination of a baby that would presumably develop to where those complications are greatly reduced if not aborted.”

            Please read my comment as if you had commented on my comment not some utopia you mentioned in your comment, apologies for my misunderstanding and please use reality to comment in relation to my comments.

          • In reply to #33 by aquilacane:

            For me, the fact that it can survive outside the womb is a big hands off. Maybe under 500g birth weight should be a cut off. That seems to be the lowest survivable birth weight. I’m not sure but around the 20 week mark starts to get into the murder zone for me and I don’t accept difficult life or bad choices as suitable argument for murder.

            How would you tell which were 500g vs 499g? The volume is so small and moment-to-moment variation so great I’m not sure we could use that as a standard. Given that survival at 22 weeks is extremely rare (3 out of 272 in the UK, 2006 EPICure 2 study), why is 20 weeks “into the murder zone”?

  7. In reply to #17 by Katy Cordeth: & aquailacane It reads like the “if” is missing from aquilacanes comment

    In reply to #16 by aquilacane:

    Unless the health of the mother or perhaps even quality of life of the child (it has no brain) is in question, I see no reason why…

    I think like most laws they’re supposed to be set up for ALL the people not just well educated scientifically minded people with a nice iphone where they promptly bought an app to calculate the due date. I can well imagine, especially with expensive healthcare and little money, how someone could push past 20 weeks thinking they were only at 14, 15, 16. Again try not to think of the best paradigm when deciding if you could manage better than everyone else in the country and therefore want everyone to live by your standards.

    My youngest son was born at 29 weeks, he is perfectly healthy so far at age 8, but there was no chance without medical care. Could I have afforded the medical bills at that point or other random points in my employment? No, not always, can you 2 imagine that now?

    There are countless examples of real situations (father raped you and you’re not delighted to go ask for the abortion until you turn 16…) I’d like to think that the laws of the land are NOT set up specifically for me wouldn’t you?

  8. In reply to #19 by Katy Cordeth:

    I’m intrigued to find out what the missing comment was! If it was mine it was just my computer pausing but my comment is still there and certainly not too passionate. If you feel it is just let me know which bits?

    Abortion laws aren’t that passion raising in me but thoughtless, theistic, ideological legislation is and I am uncomfortable with non-theists supporting it based on the limit of ones own experience/imagination.

    In reply to the comment that was just removed:

    I don’t know if it was you or whichever moderator is on duty tonight who removed your comment; but I hope you repost it, perhaps rephrased in a more dispassionate form if it was the mods who nixed it and not yourself.

    • In reply to #19 by alaskansee:

      In reply to #19 by Katy Cordeth:

      I’m intrigued to find out what the missing comment was! If it was mine it was just my computer pausing but my comment is still there and certainly not too passionate. If you feel it is just let me know which bits?

      Abortion laws aren’t that passion raising in me but…

      I was referring to your comment, but I think it must have been my own computer that was fritzing. Or not. I don’t even know anymore. I’m starting to think Stafford Gordon’s regular complaints about his malfunctioning reply button might be legitimate too and not just a figment of the guy’s imagination.

      There was a thread on this site about a week ago concerning a psychic lady who sued the Daily Mail, but I’ll be bejiggered if I can find the wretched thing.

      • In reply to #20 by Katy Cordeth: I agree but I don’t want to offend the mods so I just stay out of it. Can’t believe the psychic won.

        In reply to #19 by alaskansee:

        In reply to #19 by Katy Cordeth:

        I’m intrigued to find out what the missing comment was! If it was mine it was just my computer pausing but my comment is still there and certainly not too passionate. If you feel it is just let me know which bits?

        Abortion laws aren’…

        • In reply to #21 by alaskansee:

          In reply to #20 by Katy Cordeth: I agree but I don’t want to offend the mods so I just stay out of it. Can’t believe the psychic won.

          In reply to #19 by alaskansee:

          In reply to #19 by Katy Cordeth:

          I’m intrigued to find out what the missing comment was! If it was mine it was just my computer paus…

          Are you spooked by them too? I’m relieved it’s not just me. I’m frightened to death of the mods.

          Does anyone on this site know where William Lane Craig lives?

          Perhaps if we offered him up as a blood sacrifice…

    • In reply to #26 by Roedy:

      The astounding thing is her Quixotic charge worked. In the excitement, the Republicans forgot to vote in time and the bill died on the floor. They can still revive it.

      I think the word you were searching for was the opposite of quixotic, is that unquixotic or aquixotic?

      Her actions were quite clearly realistic and practical. I assume you know what the word means so I’m uncomfortable with your deliberate incorrect use of the term to describe something so ordinary just because you don’t like it. This is the tactic of the people lying for jesus, the truth is strong enough without you trying to muddy the waters.

      The appropriate thing to do would be to make some efforts to change it not the meaning of words. Filibustering is a legitimate and common practice nothing astounding happen here. “We” (RDF and it’s supporters) spend so much time addressing straw men and false criticism “we” should be more careful.

      I have no problem with your dislike of filibustering but I do have a problem with your a incorrect use of fancy words, please assume no one else will be fooled, I wasn’t and I didn’t know what the word meant until I looked it up…

  9. Its quite obvious that the republican political culture is to advance religious habitual practices,oblivious to democracy and their central duty to uphold the constitution.Not for a moment that I believe republican law makers of Texas are sufficiently gullible to buy into the bill producer;s fake concerns about women’s health.

  10. The bill would…force many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities and be classified as ambulatory surgical centers. Also, doctors would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles — a tall order in rural communities.

    Does anybody else think this bit is more interesting than the 20-vs-24 -week issue? Superficially, it makes sense – and is what would effectively outlaw abortion in large chunks of Texas.

    For anybody interested, I link to the UK abortion statistics (2011 data) and the UK EPICure 2 Study which looked at survival in all births 22-26 weeks in 2006 and compares to EPICure 1 from 1995.

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