On August 13th, the Abortion Rights Freedom Riders took the resistance to a whole other level. 11 people were arrested, for putting our bodies on the line, committing a civil disobedience in front of Gov. Rick Perry’s mansion, because women’s lives and futures are at stake in this abortion rights emergency and we REFUSE to sit by as women are slammed back. Stop Patriarchy firmly holds that people everywhere can and need to step up. We are determined to fight this through. We were brutally arrested, and in jail we were separated and harassed, but we will NOT be cowed. August 25-September 1st we are calling for a national week of defiance. This week needs to model the kind of uncompromising resistance it is going to take to defeat this assault on women’s lives. Things like what we did a few days ago, and much more.
Because of the recent and intense attacks on women’s health care in Texas, people might assume that Texas is more extreme. But under Governor John Kasich, Ohio has signed 17 anti-women’s health bills into law. And now, he’s trying to take his bad policies nationwide with his run for president.
WHAT HAPPENED IN TEXAS: Abortion restrictions in 2013 caused a wave of reproductive health center closures. WHAT’S HAPPENING IN TEXAS: The remaining health centers are struggling to meet increased demand for safe, legal abortion. WHAT COULD HAPPEN IN TEXAS: If the Supreme Court allows further abortion restrictions, 2nd-trimester abortions could nearly double.
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.
One year ago today, Wendy Davis stood for 11 hours in a fillibuster to protect access to abortion in Texas, with the backing of thousands of activists. We still stand with Wendy and the women of Texas.
1. Wendy Davis gave a voice to folks who have been shut out of the political process for too long.
2. Leticia Van de Putte raised the point of order heard ‘round the world.
3. They tried to end the filibuster and force a vote — but the voices of hundreds of people standing shoulder to shoulder in the rotunda shook the Capitol to its foundation and stopped the bill in the “people’s filibuster.”
4. They tried to cheat in plain sight—changing the official record to say that the bill had passed just in time—to try to ignore our voices…
5. …instead, they got fact-checked by thousands of people watching and tweeting online.
6. Orange really was the new black.
7. And meanwhile, in the rest of the country, thousands more folks rose up in places like North Carolina and Missouri to make their voices heard by their legislators.
8. Every day since, folks in Texas have shown what it means to be “in for the long run.”
9. We met a new generation of activists – including plenty of folks who weren’t even old enough to vote yet, like then-9-year-old Beau Guidry who not only watched every minute of the filibuster, he live-tweeted it.
But the best part: He was so inspired by what he saw in the Capitol that last fall, he ran for school president – and won!
10. Today Texans are still standing, organizing, and fighting for women’s health — and we’re stronger than ever!
11. And the best thing to come out of the filibuster hasn’t happened yet – it’s when we make Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte the next governor and lieutenant governor of Texas!
Under Texas’ new abortion restrictions, some women will have to drive hundreds of miles to access a safe and legal abortion—that’s assuming a woman has access to a car, can take off of work or school, can arrange child care, and so on. Not to mention the mandatory ultrasound and other onerous restrictions already imposed by the state.