The special session of the Texas Legislature closes at midnight tonight. Senate Bill 5 will close all but 5 abortion clinics in Texas including all of the ones in the poorest, most rural regions. If prochoice advocates, hundreds of whom have traveled from all over the state, have a hope of beating the bill it lies with Senator Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth. She intends to filibuster — by speaking continuously for the remainder of the day. If she fails, the bill will almost certainly pass.
The Texas Tribune has an overview of the situation in their liveblog:
Texas Democrats, far outnumbered by Republicans in both the House and the Senate, are nonetheless on the verge of killing one of the most restrictive abortion proposals in the nation — at least for now.
Using delaying tactics and parliamentary rules, the minority party argued into the wee hours in the state House on Monday morning and then stuck together to keep the GOP from jamming Senate Bill 5 through the Senate in the afternoon and evening. Republicans vowed to try to muster enough support to push the bill through Monday night, but that effort failed. And Democrats are prepared for a final talk-a-thon Tuesday that could spell death — for now — for the bill.
SB 5, by state Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, would make abortion illegal after 20 weeks and would establish stringent new requirements for facilities that perform abortions. Supporters of the bill say it would make the procedures safer for women and protect unborn babies. Abortion rights proponents say the legislation would shut down most of the abortion facilities in Texas.
Below, you will find tweets from myself and others throughout the day. I am at home as of this writing (about 1:30pm Central) but intend to travel to the Capitol in the next couple hours to cover this important event.
Photo by Kit O’Connell, released under a Creative Commons license.