Feature

Will Texas Republicans beat Wendy Davis' filibuster, after all?

Gov. Rick Perry calls a new special legislative session to pass tough abortion restrictions after the Democratic state senator runs out the clock on the last one

Texas Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis may have blocked restrictive new abortion regulations with her epic, 11-hour filibuster, but her victory could be short lived. Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday called lawmakers back for a second special legislative session, beginning July 1, to give Republicans another chance to pass the bill, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and impose new rules expected to force most of the state's abortion clinics to close.

Davis' one-woman stonewalling, along with raucous chanting by abortion rights supporters, created so much confusion as a midnight deadline approached that Republican lawmakers failed to get the bill approved before the special legislative session ended, even though they approved the measure 17 to 10 after Davis' filibuster was cut short on a technicality. "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.

The news immediately dampened the celebrations of the bill's opponents. The GOP-dominated legislature overwhelmingly backed the bill the first time around, and many assume it will be harder — if not impossible — for Davis and other Democrats to run out the clock again, because the bill's backers will bring it up at the start of the 30-day session, instead of waiting until halfway through as they did in the last one. Cord Jefferson at Gawker echoed that resignation, saying, "it was fun while it lasted."

Conservatives appear to agree that it is inevitable that the bill, in some form, will become law, given the GOP's control of both houses in the legislature. "A mob in the statehouse didn't beat Scott Walker on labor reform and it's not going to beat Perry on abortion," says Allahpundit at Hot Air. Still, Allahpundit says, Republicans might not have much longer than Democrats to savor their victory.

America's courts reliably strike down regulations on abortion... [T]his one's probably DOA even if it passes. [Hot Air]

Whatever happens next, Democrats say the fight launched by Davis' filibuster is just beginning (the second-term Fort Worth legislator is even considered a possible candidate for governor). Anything Republicans do now, Jessica Mason Pieklo notes at Rolling Stone, might get undone if Democrats can build on recent momentum enough to gain a majority in the state Capitol.

Like California during the 1980s, Texas is turning blue thanks to women and people of color, and the right wing has no real plan or platform to capture those voters. Instead, they had planned to hold the state by force, as Tuesday night's events made clear. What they didn't plan on was Davis and her feminist army. And they're not going anywhere. [Rolling Stone]

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