A year ago today, I got up at 4am, called in to work, and drove to Austin to sit in a crowded gallery full of people wearing orange and listen to Wendy Davis speak.
She stood for 13 hours, speaking for most of it.
We sat in the gallery and listened as the Republican leadership got more and more desperate. The state mandated pre-abortion sonogram was deemed ‘not germane’ to the discussion about further abortion restrictions. Same for Planned Parenthood.
Much like a few nights earlier, when 700 people signed up to testify against SB5, we were told our voices didn’t matter. That we were 'repetitive’.
Wendy didn’t sit down, even when they called a final–bogus–point of order against her (a colleague helped her put on a back brace, and it was said she 'leaned’ against him in contravention of Texas’ filibuster rules).
As other senators brought points of order to keep the filibuster going, Senator Leticia Van De Putte–who had driven to Austin for the vote immediately following the funeral of her father and was now being utterly ignored by the Lieutenant Governor in spite of the rules–asked the question that finally set off the crowd that had sat in respectful silence all day:
“Mr. President, at what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?”
The gallery exploded. All three levels of the Capitol rang with shouting as the people of Texas did the only thing left to them: blocking the vote by any means necessary.
It was impossible to call roll over the noise, even as DPS troopers dragged protesters out of the gallery. It was even more impossible to vote before midnight, despite the fact that Lt. Governor David Dewhurst changed the timestamp on the vote.
My State Senator, Chuy Hinojosa, snapped a cell phone photo of the log book and immediately uploaded it to Twitter and Facebook–that vote did not occur before midnight.
Despite pulling out every trick in their arsenal, SB5 failed.
Thank you Wendy, thank you Leticia. Thank you Kirk Watson & Chuy Hinojosa. Thank you Judith Zaffirini, Sefronia Thompson, Jessica Farrar, Sarah Davis, and everyone else who stood up for Texas women.