Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Texas woman to make us all proud

I am so in awe of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis. She's got a tiny bit over three hours to go in her thirteen-hour filibuster to prevent the Texas legislature from passing the strictest anti-abortion law in the country. The bill, sponsored by men with a sketchy knowledge of medicine, especially the female reproductive system, but political ambitions, would close ninety percent of the reproductive health care clinics in the state, forcing some rural women to drive hundreds of miles for care. Many would simply go without, to the detriment of their health, and so would many poor women. I believe it also bars exceptions in cases of rape and incest. It's a severe ramping up of the "war on women."
Senator Davis, wearing pink running shoes, is reading letters from hundreds of women all over Texas, telling their stories. Some letters have made the senator cry as she reads. Some have prompted questions from her opposition, giving her a slight break in talking. Whens she completes the filibuster, shortly after midnight, she will have successfully defeated the bill. Law requires this special called session to end at midnight tonight. Governor Rick Perry could conceivably call a second special session--and there are rumors he's considering it--which would cost Texas $30,000 a day. But I think both sides are tired of the fight. The session was originally called ostensibly to consider taxes or budget but has dealt with nothing but the abortion issue, which did not pass during the regular session.
Senator Davis cannot sit down, drink water (or anything else), take a bathroom break or any other kind of break. The filibuster rules are strict, and I got to wondering how one "trains" for this ordeal. Do you load up on water to avoid dehydration, or do you stop drinking it well in advance to avoid bathroom emergencies? One has to think of practicalities. Whatever, Senator Davis didn't have long. Her colleagues chose her to do this job just a day or two ago. The record for a filibuster in Texas is held by a gentleman (sorry I forget his name or the nature of the issue) who talked for something like forty-five hours. He was quoted today as saying the hardest part was staying awake.
Some time back I heard mention of Senator Davis as a possible gubernatorial candidate--for heaven's sake, we've got to have someone to get Perry out of office. Whether she'll run or not, no one knows, but I foresee a grass roots campaign to draft her.
Texas has a history of extraordinarily strong women, and someone commented today how much we miss Ann Richards and Molly Ivins. They'd have blistered the Republican-controller legislature. I once wrote a Texas Small Book for TCU Press titled Extraordinary Texas Women. If I had it to do over again, I'd surely add Wendy Davis. Proud to say she used to be my state representative and is from my part of Fort Worth--or maybe I should say I'm from her part of Fort Worth.
Go, Wendy! You can do this!

1 comment:

LD Masterson said...

Courage and perseverance must always be admired.