In order to block a controversial abortion bill that would disallow abortions 20 weeks after conception Democrats in the Texas legislature turned to Sen. Wendy Davis to lead a 13-hour filibuster, according to the Associated Press.
Davis, a former teen parent who fought to put herself through Harvard Law School, has shown a willingness to stand up to Republicans in the Texas legislature. At one point in her career Davis was referred to as a "show horse" by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, according to the Washington Post.
In order to stall the vote on the bill Davis needed to be able to filibuster for 13 hours without making three violations of the filibuster rules, once three violations are made a vote to end the filibuster can be held. In Texas the filibuster rules stipulate that the person remain standing, without leaning against anything, not take any breaks and remain on topic for the duration of the filibuster, according to CBS News.
After 11 hours Sen. Donna Campbell called a third violation on Davis. For two hours the legislators debated what was to happen next, shouting over each other. Eventually the Republican majority voted to end the filibuster with only minutes to make a midnight deadline, only to be unable to do so because of protesters in the gallery screaming and shouting their disapproval. Despite the efforts of security guards the chamber could not be cleared and the bill was never signed, according to the Associated Press.
"She's a total fighter," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told the Associated Press. "And the thing about Senator Davis, she says she's going to do something, she gets it done."
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst told reporters that the bill passed 19-10 but was unable to be signed because of the presence of "an unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics," according to The New York Times.
There is some debate as to whether or not the vote passed in time. Senate Democrats have argued that the vote took place after the midnight deadline at 12:02 a.m., Dewhurst says that the vote was made just in time, while the website of the Texas Legislature said that the vote occurred on Wednesday and then was changed to say Tuesday, according to The New York Times.
The failure of the bill to become a law will be seen as a black eye on Texas Republicans as the issue had received nationwide media attention.
"The GOP Senate leadership comes out of this whole process looking somewhat disingenuous, deceptive and disorganized," Mark Jones, a political science professors at Rice University, told The New York Times.
After speaking for 11 straight hours Davis didn't have much to say at the end of the night but gave a nod to all of the women who had helped defeat the bill.
"My back hurts," Davis told reporters. "I don't have a lot of words left. It shows the determination and spirit of Texas women."