Democrats filibuster, abortion bill fails in TX Senate

Democrats filibuster, abortion bill fails in TX Senate

POSTED: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 11:24am

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 3:49pm

A controversial new abortion bill failed in Texas after a chaotic and confusing night. Democrats tried to delay the voting by staging a filibuster that lasted for several hours. The vote, came down to a matter of minutes, Nick Valencia has the details.

Chanting in the middle of the night, chaos on the Texas Senate floor, "We intend to speak for an extended period of time on the bill. Thank you very much."

Democrat Wendy Davis took to the Senate floor at 11:18 in the morning, the goal, filibuster for some 13 hours, until midnight, when the special session of the Legislature would expire.

The focus, a politically charged measure that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and impose strict standards on abortions clinics and the doctors who work at  them.

Critics say it would close nearly every abortion clinic in the state, protesters on both sides of the debate filled the halls. Hour after hour, Davis spoke and spoke, under strict rules of order.

Three violations and the filibuster would come to an end. One by one, those violations came, she was cited for straying off topic, strike two, a fellow Senator helping her with a back brace, then after nearly 11 hours on the Senate floor, "I'm going through this analysis step by step because I have something to say."

The filibuster was over, the drama was not, Democrats tried to run out the clock with procedural questions and the visitors gallery erupted.

Then Republicans gathered at the front of the chamber and started a vote on the abortion bill, but the roll call took place just after midnight.

Democrats challenged the result, saying they did not participate in the vote and it came too late, "Mr. President, what time did the session end?"

Each side claimed victory, until several hours later at about 3 am the Lieutenant Governor took the floor one last time to announce the bill had failed and the Legislative session was officially over.

It is not completely over, Texas Governor Rick Perry reserves the right to call for another special session at anytime.


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