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Why Wendy Davis' abortion rights filibuster matters

Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, reacts after she was called for a third and final violation in rules to end her filibuster attempt to kill an abortion bill, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Austin, Texas (Credit: AP/Eric Gay)The noise in the Texas Senate chamber this past Tuesday night was near deafening.  But with the United States Supreme Court headlines this week, the anticipation and ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Prop 8 has drowned the noise from the historic event in Texas.

Senate Bill 5, hashtagged as #SB5, had Austin and the social media world buzzing.  If passed, this bill would have effectively shut down eighty percent of the abortion clinics in Texas.  Democrat Wendy Davis held an eleven-hour filibuster in an effort to delay voting on the bill until the special thirty-day Senate session, called by Governor Rick Perry, ended at midnight.  She came prepared for the long speech wearing pink tennis shoes.

This bill would put some very heavy restrictions—some of the toughest in the country—on abortion.  If passed, abortion service providers will be held to the same standards as surgical centers and abortions will be banned after twenty weeks.

"This bill would endanger the health and safety of millions of women in Texas," said Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and daughter of Ann Richards, the former Texas governor. "If this passes, abortion would be virtually banned in the state of Texas, and many women could be forced to resort to dangerous and unsafe measures."

Gov. Perry says that this bill is actually an act of protection: "The horrors of the national late-term abortion industry are continuing to come to light, one atrocity at a time. Sadly, some of those same atrocities happen in our own state … We have an obligation to protect unborn children, and to hold those who peddle these abortions to standards that would minimize the death, disease and pain they cause." A reference to the Kermit Gosnell case in Philadelphia and the "house of horrors" clinic he ran, Women's Medical Society Clinic, can be assumed here.  

President Obama voiced his position against SB5 and support of Texas state Senator Davis on Twitter saying, "Something special is happening in Austin tonight: http://t.co/RpbnCbO6zw #StandWithWendy" and Democratic Senator Harry Reid tweeted "Wendy Davis engaged in the kind of filibuster I can support. #standwithwendy #SB5."

Online for Life iPhone app - Get it Now!On top of Davis' filibuster, protestors of SB5 crowded the Texas capital building to make their voices heard. They were heard, all right.  Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst called the crowd an "unruly mob."  Some Twitter users called it "the peoples' filibuster."

Were they successful? Maybe.

Texas state Senator Davis' efforts to delay voting until after midnight made it until 11:03pm, at which point the vote began.  Conservatives are insistent that the vote got in before midnight, but SB5 did not pass and the special Senate session is over.

Yesterday morning, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made his opinion clear when he tweeted"I pledge to Texas one thing: this fight is far from over. #txlege #sb5." The fight will continue July 1st.  Gov. Perry called another special thirty-day session yesterday afternoon saying, "Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn."

The road to end abortion is going to be a long and litigious one. Ninety-three percent of abortions are elective, and only seven percent are performed in the cases of rape, incest and health of the mother.  Millions of lives can be saved if the elective procedures can be made harder to obtain.  Visit our ministry partner, Online for Life and download their app, where you can join the Online for Life prayer team. Once you join, you'll be notified when a woman considering abortion in your area chooses to visit an Online For Life affiliate center.  You can then respond to the notification to pray for that mother and child.

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. – James 5:16



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