Like any millennial who’s only passively political (to preface this, pretty much any knowledge of politics I’ve gotten through watching Parks and Rec, so bear with me) I monitored last night’s Wendy Davis filibuster from the comfort of multiple social media outlets. Facebook was on edge. Tumblr was casually throwing around the “Khaleesi” title (they would.) Twitter was filled with words of solidarity punctuted with #StandWithWendy. And I was reloading the livestream, which would die on me approximately every 3 minutes.
In case you live under a rock, here’s a quick recap: yesterday Texas senate tried to pass a bill that would make abortion near-impossible in the state. It would set up a whole clusterfuck of restrictions that would shut down all but about 5 clinics in Texas, not nearly enough considering what a vast wasteland Texas is. Most crucially, it would ban abortion after 20 weeks.
So basically you have Senator Wendy Davis deciding, “Fuck no, we need to make a stand against this,” and that’s exactly what she did.
For 12 and a half hours, Wendy Davis, clad in pink Nike's, stood and talked about abortion, speaking on behalf of "thousands of Texans who have been ignored."
This wasn’t without the usual bout of old white dudes trying to shut her down. The rules of a filibuster, to my knowledge, state that you’re not allowed to sit, lean, eat, drink or relieve yourself. You must stay completely on topic without pause. You are rooted there, and three strikes, and you're out. One pending strike was regarding the "germaness" or relevance of mandatory sonograms in relation to abortions. As Senator Leticia Van De Putte said, you don't do sonograms for a tonsillectomy.
Another point of controversy was when Senator Rodney Ellis helped adjust her back brace. You heard that correctly: they made a fuss because of her back brace.
Luckily that back brace wasn’t the only support Davis received. Far from it. An entire crowd was locked in the rotunda, chanting, "Let her speak!" So cool.
And let’s not forget all the other amazing people who contributed to the death of this bill, including Senator Van De Putte, who spouted such sass as,
"Did the President hear me or did the President hear me and refuse to recognize me?"
“At what point must a female senator raise her hand or voice to be recognized over her male colleagues in the room?”
And let’s just talk about how she just lost her father (she wasn’t present earlier because she was at his funeral) and was still able to fiercely defend the matter at hand. And, better yet, told the senate to tell her “the three points of order so that I may understand even in the most basic way the debate about to begin,” which in turn took up time.
What a champion.
Of course we all know the happy conclusion: Senate Bill 5 is driven into the ground, at least until the Senate meets again in 2 years.
And that, dear friends, is the story of how I ended up exhausted on my commute to work, trying to explain to my friend how I stayed up late to watch a filibuster.
“It’s for Texas,” I explained, half asleep.
“But we live in New Jersey,” remarked in my friend.
Yeah, well. It’s important for all of us. It's amazing that a restrictive, misogynistic got crushed, but the fact that someone had to stand for 12 and a half hours to defend our rights, and that a wave of men did all they could to silence her means we have a LONG way to go.
This is only the beginning. There are many, many strides we have to make in order to defend our reproductive rights.
Don't know where to start? Planned Parenthood, which Davis cited as her "medical home," is running a Call to Action Matching Gift Campaign, where if you donate a certain amount to Planned Parenthood, supporters will match your donation. Neat.
Original article via trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com
Images via Huffingtonpost.com, guardian.uk, trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com, texastribune.org