Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wendy Davis, Woman Warrior

"A filibuster is a type of parliamentary procedure where debate is extended, allowing one or more members to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a given proposal. It is sometimes referred to as talking out a bill,[1] and characterized as a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body."

"Rights are legal, social, or ethical principles of freedom or entitlement; that is, rights are the fundamental normative rules about what is allowed of people or owed to people, according to some legal system, social convention, or ethical theory.[1] "

History has been made in Texas for the sake of women all over the country. A new precedent has been set. On the morning of June 25, 2013, Senator Wendy Davis (D) of Texas took a stand. A stand that lasted 11 hours. A stand that means that the welfare of the women of Texas remains intact.

Senate bill 5 proposed that all abortion clinics include a mandatory ambulatory surgery center, and banned most abortions past 20 weeks. While my views on the cap of a gestational age for abortion differ, I vehemently decry the attempt to take away the rights of women who want or need something that disagrees with my personal view. Senate bill 5 would have closed most of the abortion clinics in Texas. Senate bill 5 would have, in all likeliness, driven women to drastic, dangerous methods of termination, especially in rural areas where access to abortion as it is currently is extremely limited.

Pink sneakers. While that is not the most memorable part of the 11 hour ordeal, Senator Davis' pink sneakers stand out. She wore them in preparation for a 13 hour ordeal, in an attempt to stay comfortable during the filibuster where she would not be allowed food or drink, to lean, to sit, or to ask for help in any way. At one point, she requested assistance of another senator in putting on a back brace in order to remain standing. The senate angrily voted that this was in violation, and the motion was upheld. That was her second of three allowable warnings before the senate could vote to end the filibuster as a result of straying off topic. The senate failed.

There were many remarkable words spoken last night. Leticia Van De Putte's statement of "At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?" and  chants of "Let Her Speak!" from the gallery, crowded with spectators, echo over and over in the media and in our hearts and heads.

Senator Davis' filibuster was muddled in the last few hours due to an unclear ruling on a third warning and subsequent confusing and possibly illegal tactics by the Senate, but in what is being called a "People's Filibuster," the spectating crowd erupted into such a roar of chaos that the vote was delayed long enough to kill the bill and kill the potentially deadly consequences it would carry.

Senator Davis did it. She took a literal stand for the women of Texas, and with the nationwide support, she set a precedent not only for her own state, but for all states as well.

She set a precedent that clearly states that women deserve the right to safety and choice. She set a precedent that will follow us today to our daughters tomorrow, and to our granddaughters after them. As long as women like Wendy Davis and Leticia Van De Putte and you and I continue to fight, to continue to stand our ground, we will keep our sisters and our daughters and their daughters after them safe. We will continue to ensure that they have the RIGHT to safe medical procedures without oppressive , superfluous stipulations that cause undue duress to the woman seeking the procedure, which include things such as repeated sonograms during which the patient must observe the screen prior to the procedure, and laws that require the patient to observe the fetal heartbeat before the procedure begins. We will continue to prevent laws that ban medical abortions in favor of surgical ones, and vice versa. Laws that state that women pregnant only due to rape or incest are allowed abortions, and worse laws that state that no woman, including those pregnant due to rape and incest, are allowed abortions.

Senator Wendy Davis proved last night that we, as a united front of sisters, are done fucking around. Get your laws off of our bodies and out of our uteri.

Please take a moment to let the enormity of this win sink in. Once it has, call Wendy.  Call her with your story, call her with your thanks. Call her to let her know that you stood with her last night, and that she was not alone.

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