Awesome. Because SB5 is all sorts of wrong. If passed, "the law would have closed 37 of the state's 42 clinics, leaving hundreds of thousands of women in Texas and neighboring states like Oklahoma with no way to access abortion care." (Rolling Stone) 37 of 42 clinics. Clinics that provide more than just abortion care. We're talking STC tests, pre-natal care, family planning, the works. Shut down.
But even if we were just talking about abortion care, this still matters. It life-or-death matters.
Forcing women to remain pregnant against their will is a solution to nothing. NOTHING. So, as yesterday wore on and Wendy kept standing, I dared to hope. Even as they decided that talking about Planned Parenthood (you know, a major provider of the services in question) wasn't germane to the discussion and gave Wendy strike #1. Even as they, God's Chosen Protectors of Women's Health, gave her strike #2 for her back brace. I hoped.
Okay, I more than hoped. I morphed into a full-fledged Wendy Davis fangirl. I obsessed over my Twitter feed and became genuinely confused when people talked about anything other than the filibuster. I watched the live feed online, since CNN was too busy breaking the news that blueberry muffins are fattening:
I even posted my newfound (but undying) love for Wendy on my Facebook page. I say "I even posted" because, for a hot second, I debated it. While my Twitter is blissfully full-on feminist nirvana, I tend to tread a bit more lightly on Facebook. I thought, I don't want to offend anyone, blah blah blah. Then about a nanosecond later that, if you are surprised and/or upset by my passion for women's rights, I am totally cool with you unfriending me.
It was at this point I was in Happy Joyous Equal Rights Land:
Then came strike #3: sonograms. Sonograms. SONOGRAMS. WTF. This, from the very people who voted that sonograms were mandatory before a woman could exercise her right to a safe, legal abortion. Suddenly, sonograms weren't "germane" to the discussion.
At this point, I was certain it was over. O-V-E-R. But Wendy kept standing. And suddenly, the bullpen stepped in and pitched some clutch relief innings.
Buddy Garrity State Senator Kirk Watson got in on the act. State Senator Leticia van de Putt, just hours removed from her father's funeral, delivered her no-famous line:
"At what point does a female senator need to raise her voice to be heard over the male colleagues in the room?"
(My second favorite line of the evening's festivities? Senator West's "largest font possible" quip.)
van de Putt's line sparked the crowd and they cheered and yelled and effectively drowned out the proceedings, running out the clock. It took until the wee hours of the morning, but when the dust settled, Wendy won. We won.
But for me, there was a stunning moment of clarity, somewhere around the time of Senator Leticia van de Putt's speech: win, lose, or draw, no one could ever take this day away from me. Not ever. I will always remember Wendy's strength. I will always remember those who rallied around her. I will always remember the tears running down my face as the crowd, inspired by Wendy and Leticia and outraged over the steamrolling over law and proper parliamentary procedure, brought home the victory.
|source: oliviabensons tumblr|
I know Rick Perry has already called for a second super special session so the bill can pass (and it probably will). Why wouldn't he? He is allowed an unlimited number of such sessions and these require a simple majority for legislation to pass (unlike the regular session, which require two-thirds). We all knew this was coming, even before Wendy laced up her pink sneakers yesterday.
That does not render yesterday meaningless. Yesterday was a galvanizing, power-to-the people moment. And to anyone (Perry, Dewhurst, etc) who claim that our victory was because of "mob" antics, I say this: read a fucking American history book.
Peaceful but powerful citizen uprising in the face of an unfair oppressor? Welcome to America. Wendy Davis didn't invent the fillibuster, she just rocked it. Her fellow Democrats didn't invent parliamentary procedure, they just used it. And when it looked like fairness and rules were going to be tossed out the window, the people saw it and they responded. They sat quietly all day until their consciences knew the time for silence was over.
You know what's un-American? Falsifying government documents to try and convince nearly 200,000 people watching that they didn't see what they just saw (ie., changing the timestamp on the vote).
Someone asked me today how I could be pro-choice while pregnant. That's a topic for a larger discussion on another day. But I will share with you my response: Because know I really get it.
Thank you, Wendy. And Leticia and Kirk and everyone in Texas who drew a line in the sand.