The Texas abortion law debate Tuesday featured an hours-long filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis and a late swell of crowd chanting. After the Texas filibuster on SB5 filled much of the day, midnight came and the Republicans claimed victory. However, there was more to come, including a big win in the wee hours of the morning for Davis and her supporters. Texas Tribune covered the details live as they developed, right down to the official announcement on June 26 that the Texas abortion bill SB5 failed to be passed before the midnight deadline.
Sen. Wendy Davis stood for hours Tuesday in her Texas filibuster to prevent the SB5 vote. The controversial Texas abortion bill would effectively shut down 37 of 42 abortion service providers due to the restrictions incorporated. After some 11 hours on her feet, without food, water, bathroom breaks or even the opportunity to lean on a podium, Davis hit a third “strike” and had to stop. It had been argued that she broke the Texas filibuster rules once for getting help with a back brace, and twice for going “off-topic.”
From there, fellow Democrats stepped in to stall, as they simply had to get to midnight without a vote for SB5 to be dead. Sen. Kirk Watson and Sen. Leticia Van De Putte were especially effective, and Van De Putte even had come from her father’s funeral to participate. They had about 30 minutes to fill before the Texas abortion law bill would be dead.
Around 200,000 people watched the Texas filibuster live stream online as Twitter exploded with the hashtags #SB5 and #StandWithWendy. It was looking like the Dems would run out of options just short of midnight, but then spectators in the galley took the reins. Voting to pass Texas abortion bill SB5 was disrupted as the galley cheered, chanted and hollered.
At what seemed like the very last second, the Republicans gathered everybody together and it seemed the SB5 vote had been done. Democrats, however, were holding up their phones insisting it was past midnight. Everybody watching online and following on Twitter were absolutely certain that it was past midnight.
In the moments after midnight, there was mass confusion not only online, but in the Senate chamber itself. Some Republicans said they voted, yet others admitted they weren’t sure if it was SB5 or the “previous question” they had been voting on in those hectic moments. Some media outlets reported that the Texas abortion bill had passed, while those there in person said there was a lot of reason to be uncertain.
Next came a stunning bit of information. Pictures hit Twitter showing that the time stamps regarding when the vote took place had been changed in the system. Printouts and screenshots of the changes flooded Twitter, showing that the vote had indeed gone past midnight. However, someone changed the records to show it had taken place before midnight.
The senators regrouped in the chambers and people buzzed waiting for a final determination. It took until about 2:50 a.m. CT before the news was made official: the Texas abortion bill is dead. The vote took place at 12:03 CT, past the ending time of the special session, thus it does not pass. Sen. Wendy Davis and her fellow Democrats succeeded with their Texas filibuster to prevent the passage of SB5, the Texas abortion bill.