I was up past midnight last night, glued to a livestream. I haven’t done that since we landed on Mars. I wish this one had been such a happy occasion. I was, of course, watching the livestream of Texas state Senator Wendy Davis filibustering the horrifying anti-abortion bill that the legislature was trying to pass in an emergency session. Apparently the Texas legislature is allowed to have abortion emergencies but women aren’t. Nice to know.
I think I probably would have been watching anyway, but this is particularly important to me now that I live in Texas. And amusingly enough, at least for now I can literally claim I didn’t vote for any of these people. (Though god, I wish I could vote for Wendy Davis. I’m not in her district, though.)
Filibusters are apparently serious business in Texas. You’re not allowed to speak off topic, sit, lean, have a bathroom break, eat, or drink. This is one place where I can wish the Federal government was a bit more like Texas, because I bet if those were the filibuster rules the Republicans would stop being such dickbags about every damn piece of legislation. Anyway, I can only imagine Senator Davis must have carb loaded on Monday to manage this one today, because she was going strong up until the end. Appeals for testimony for her to tell went out repeatedly on Twitter, so she’d have something on-topic to speak about.
I sent her an e-mail during dinner. I don’t have my own abortion story and I don’t feel like I have a right to tell the stories of my friends. But I did catch an impressive case of baby rabies this weekend because my three-month-old niece Aya is SO RIDICULOUSLY CUTE. And the moment after I contemplated, “gosh I kind of want one” I immediately followed the thought with “no way in hell am I being pregnant in Texas.” So that’s what I told her – bills like this make me actively afraid to be a woman in Texas, where pregnancy transforms you into a second-class citizen no longer in control of your own decisions and life.
I have no idea if that ended up being useful, but I tried.
Anyway, she was still going strong at midnight, when the filibuster ended, supposedly with the Senate session. And then – I cannot fucking believe this – the State Senate voted anyway. And then tried to claim they had voted two minutes before midnight instead of two minutes after. Twitter ERUPTED.
Who knew, apparently Republicans think they’re Timelords. The time on the voting record was changed on the website. I went to bed at 12:30 with Twitter still exploding with rage and couldn’t sleep because I was so incredibly angry. They won’t get away with this was the consensus on Twitter, and apparently from the angry crowd filling the state capital. Everyone was watching.
I had an e-mail from Wendy Davis sitting in my in-box this morning when I got up:
I have amazing news!
Just moments ago, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst announced to the Senate that SB5 is officially dead! Evidently, Governor Perry and the legislative leadership can hear our voices.
This amazing feat is because of you. I wanted to share this wonderful news as soon as I could.
Thank you so much for all of your encouragement, support, hard work, and most of all dedication and determination.
It is a great night for women and families in Texas and our allies across the country.
Your friend and, proudly, your State Senator,
This woman is a hero.
A Big Damn Hero.
Let’s make sure she wants for nothing. I just wish we could send this woman to the Supreme Court and have her work some magic there. The victory in Texas was amazing, but let’s not forget Tuesday was also the day the Supreme Court took a shit on the voting rights act. Unfortunately the vociferous protests of Justice Ginsburg (the resident badass of the Supreme Court in my opinion) didn’t have the same kind of power as the words of Wendy Davis did in the Texas State Senate; that’s not how the Court works.
Anyway, back in Texas, apparently the Republicans are already planning part two; per BBC news, the Lieutenant Governor “hinted that the vote could be held again at a second special session.” The abortion emergencies. They never end. (You know, if they have any time after they do some voting rights work.) But we’ll be watching, even more of us now that we know what they’re up to. And I have faith that Wendy Davis or another Big Damn Hero will step up.