Last night, a US Senator made me more hopeful about the ability of feminism to fight back against the regressive epidemic of conservative anti-woman/anti-people legislation in the US and around the world.
I’m not usually a fan of heralding individuals but there are some times when individuals do stand up for a group, as part of a group, in a way that is heroic. I think Wendy Davis did that last night standing up for women’s health and the integrity of women’s bodies in the face of attempts to close almost all the abortion clinics in Texas and outlaw abortion after 20 weeks, directly contradicting Roe vs. Wade.
On Monday Texas Republicans used their majority to cut off debate and force a vote on the bill SB5 and to pass into law. The vote needed to happen and pass before midnight last night. In a truly remarkable effort female Texas democrats pushed back and State Senator Wendy Davis (D) led an epic, eleven-hour filibuster that shutdown the horror legislation.
Davis literally stood with Texas woman for eleven hours. She wasn’t able to even lean against a podium for support, take a bathroom break or eat. She held her/our ground, requiring a back brace to get through it.
The Texas senate can shut down a filibuster if the speaker goes off topic three times. The Texas republicans bizarrely successfully argued that talking about planned parenthood’s budget and mandatory sonograms and Roe vs. Wade were “not germane” and that also by receiving assistance to strap on the back brace she had broken the rules and called the vote at around 10pm. .
WHAT a HERO!
The movement and her colleagues kicked in at this point to hold off the vote long enough to stop it going through. It was a brave wonderful example of how passionate advocacy can make a real difference.
I am very thankful to live in New Zealand and not America but while abortion remains a criminal act in this country we too remain vulnerable and while services are restricted and limited as they are now women’s health and wellbeing is still being compromised.