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Wednesday, 26 June 2013 08:45

Populist Feminist Revolt and Heroic Filibuster Defeat Extremist Anti-Abortion Bill in Texas

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davis6 26Deep in the Heart of Texas, thousands of Planned Parenthood supporters jammed the state capitol in Austin and literally stood with Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis to filibuster the harshest anti-abortion bill in the nation, preventing it from becoming law.

It was a stunning defeat for a fired-up right wing Republican dominated state senate that thought it had down for the count a women's right to choose.  In fact, at first the GOP majority tried to alter the time stamp of the bill's progress to show that it had been enacted before the midnight deadline, as detailed in an article posted on The Moderate Voice website.

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But forced by a jeering and hooting crowd of choice supporters who had packed the galleries, David Dewhurst, the lieutenant governor of Texas (who had to sign the bill to make it law), relented and admitted -- in the wee hours of the morning -- that the onerous bill was not signed by midnight and therefore would not become law in this legislative session.

Leading the filibuster that made the victory for choice possible was a senator who was the first in her family to graduate from college, Wendy Davis.  A native of Fort Worth, Davis went on as a young mother to become a paralegal, graduate from junior college, then college, and through high achievement was accepted and became a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Davis filibustered the latest GOP "war on women" bill while wearing running shoes. A national campaign was launched via e-mail and on the ground in Austin to "stand with Wendy" -- and thousands did, turning the Texas senate chamber into a raucous outpouring of protest.

This successful populist uprising in the land of the Bush presidents and right wing social conservatives may not get its due on a day when progressives are celebrating a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling that effectively cut the guts out of the Defense of Marriage Act and upheld the right of gay marriage in California (by not overturning a lower court ruling).

Personally, I want to dedicate the Texas triumph to the late Molly Ivins, a personal idol of mine.  Over 12 years, I have interviewed just about every prominent progressive figure, nearly one a week, but nothing thrilled me like talking over the phone with Ivins. 

In our long 2003 interview (read here), Ivins said of social conservatives in legislatures and Congress, "I think that there comes a point where they're ramming something down your throat that's just flat wrong and unfair; you just can't take it anymore."

Molly, because of the courage of Wendy Davis and the civic activism of thousands of pro-choice Texans and Americans, this victory over the forces of darkness is in your memory.

(Molly Ivins succumbed to cancer in 2007 at the age of 62.)

(Photo: mdfriendofhillary)