VIDEO: Marathon filibuster blocks Texas abortion bill

A Texas Democrat blocked a bill that would have enacted severe new abortion restrictions Wednesday, after a marathon speech in the capitol caused some Republican supporters of the bill to cast votes past a midnight deadline.

Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis spoke for more than 10 hours Tuesday in a bid to run out the voting window on a measure that would place a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and impose new regulations that would’ve forced a majority of Texas’ abortion providers to close.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry, a strong opponent of abortion, could still revive the proposal by calling the legislature into a new special session.

Davis’ filibuster attempt stalled about two hours ahead of the deadline over a complaint that she had violated rules. The Republican-controlled Senate then began voting on the bill, amid protests from spectators.

Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, after meeting with lawmakers, said some of their votes came in after midnight local time, the effective end of the 30-day special session.

Dewhurst bemoaned the “unruly mob” at the capitol, according to the Dallas Morning News. Hundreds of abortion-rights supporters crowded the statehouse to cheer on Davis.

Republican backers said the bill would protect women’s health and that the ban on late-term abortions would protect fetuses, based on disputed research that suggests fetuses feel pain by 20 weeks of development.

Opponents said it would force nearly all Texas abortion clinics to close or be rebuilt.

“This fight showed once again that we are all better off when women and their doctors — not politicians — are the ones making medical decisions,” said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “We made history tonight, but we know this isn’t the end of the fight to protect women’s access to health care in Texas.”

Davis, who began speaking at 11:15 a.m. local time, was prevented by procedural rules from deviating off-topic or taking a break by eating, leaning against her desk, sitting down or using the rest room.

Republicans tried to disrupt her by charging that she had meandered off-topic; this included a protest when a colleague helped adjust her back brace.

Davis whittled away chunks of time by reading testimony and messages from women and others decrying the legislation, reciting previously suggested changes to the bill and tapping into her own past as a single mother at 19.

She said the bill would have choked off her own access to a local Planned Parenthood clinic.

“I was a poor, uninsured woman, whose only care was provided through that facility. It was my medical home,” said Davis, 50, several hours into her speech.

Dewhurst, who is Senate president, suspended the filibuster after about 10 hours, to cries of “let her speak” from supporters. Democrats appealed the ruling, sparking a row over parliamentary rules.

After the session, Davis said on social media: “An incredible victory for Texas women and those who love them.”

Nationwide debate

The U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, but conservative states have enacted laws in recent years that seek to place restrictions on the procedure, especially on abortions performed late in pregnancy.

Twelve states have passed 20-week bans, including two states where the bans take effect later this year, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. Courts have blocked the bans in three of the 12 states — Arizona, Georgia and Idaho.

Earlier this month, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill banning abortions 20 weeks after fertilization. The measure is extremely unlikely to become law because Democrats control the U.S. Senate and the White House.

The Texas proposal would allow exemptions for abortions to save a woman’s life, and in cases of severe fetal abnormalities.

“In Texas, we value all life, and we’ve worked to cultivate a culture that supports the birth of every child,” Perry said.

The abortion debate simmers elsewhere in the United States.

North Dakota’s only abortion clinic filed a federal challenge on Tuesday to a new state law, the most restrictive in the country, that would ban procedures to end pregnancy once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks.

A Philadelphia jury last month convicted abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell of murdering three babies during abortions at a clinic in a high-profile case that focused national attention on late term abortions.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.