Rick Perry Revives Abortion Bill That Wendy Davis Derailed Last Night

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 26 2013 5:25 PM

Texas GOP Just Revived Its Abortion Bill. Wendy Davis Won't Be Able to Stop It a Second Time.

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Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth) contemplates her 13-hour filibuster after the Democrats defeated the anti-abortion bill SB5, which was up for a vote on the last day of the legislative special session on Tuesday in Austin

Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Update: Rick Perry just made it official. The Republican governor has called another special session of the state legislature for July 1 that will address the package of abortion restrictions that was blocked last night, Politico reports. "Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn. Texans want a transportation system that keeps them moving. Texans want a court system that is fair and just. We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do," Perry said in a statement.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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Original Post at 3:31 p.m.: My colleague Amanda Marcotte has a great post up over on XX Factor reminding everyone that the recently rediscovered Texas liberal has been there all along. Her hook, of course, was last night's theatrics in Austin, where Wendy Davis and co. managed to derail a Republican-led effort to pass sweeping new abortions restrictions that would have likely closed all but five abortion clinics in the Lone Star State. I don't want to rain on the pro-choice parade, so I won't. Instead I'll let Mother Jones' Dana Liebelson do it:

In the special session that just ended, the abortion bill did not reach the state Senate floor until the final day, thanks to stalling maneuvers mounted by Texas Democrats. This meant that Davis only had to filibuster the session for the final 11 hours of the session it took to kill the bill. But [Rice University political science professor Mark] Jones predicts that an identical bill introduced in a new special session would have more than enough support to pass in the state House and Senate. And it could hit the Senate floor weeks before the session ends.
With the Legislature's tough rules about filibusters—a lawmaker using that tactic must remain standing and on-topic, and resist the urge to go to the bathroom—it would be impossible for a person to filibuster the measure for that long. Jones says that he expects Perry to call another special session to deal with the controversial abortion bill: "I therefore expect legislation similar to SB 5, though perhaps with some modifications, to reach Gov. Perry's desk in July."

Of course, Davis and her Democratic allies knew all along that given the makeup of the Texas legislature that any victory they won last night would be short-lived. But that doesn't mean the effort wasn't worth it. Davis, for one, is facing a tough reelection fight next year in her bid to stay in the state Senate. Given the bounty of earned media coverage she's getting this week, it's hard to imagine her campaign coffers won't be bursting at the hinges soon enough. So even if—or more likely, when—Democrats lose the next battle over SB5 later this summer, last night's fight increases the chances that Davis is still around to lead a similar stand in the future.

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