Wendy Davis Filibuster Derails Texas Abortion Law ... For Now

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A marathon filibuster by State Sen. Wendy Davis allowed the clock to run out on a controversial Texas abortion law that would have passed Tuesday.

Wendy Davis Photo

Davis took to the floor the Texas Senate at 11:18 a.m. in pink tennis shoes to begin what she hoped would be a nearly 13 hour filibuster of the bill.

As the day went on, Davis' filibuster caught fire on Twitter, and by the evening it was trending worldwide. The excitement peaked at 11:58 p.m. central time.

Senate Bill 5 (SB 5) would ban abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy.

According to opponents, new abortion standards in the bill would effectively shutter 37 of 42 clinics and make Texas' abortion laws the most restrictive in the country.

Davis was determined to stop it from coming to a vote, and she did.

Strict rules for filibusters added to the drama. According to the rules, Davis was not allowed to sit down, take a restroom break, go off topic or even lean.

By 10:30 p.m., Davis was found to be in violation for straying off topic for the third time, which opened the window for a vote on whether or not she must cease the filibuster.

Other senators who opposed the bill filled the remaining time with questions and points of order to run out the clock on the bill, which expired at midnight.

On Twitter, the aptly-named #standwithwendy hashtag had 400,000 mentions on Tuesday, becoming a rallying point for local and national protestors.

The special senate session ended at midnight this morning, and a time stamp showing the vote completed after midnight was the deciding factor.

“This will not become law,” Sen. John Whitmire (D) said.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) was less than pleased.

After ruling that the time on SB 5 had in fact expired, he told reporters that "an unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics" had derailed the legislation.

A bill, he said designed to protect women and babies.

Dewhurst also hinted that Gov. Rick Perry (R) may call another special session to get the bill passed, saying: "It's over. It's been fun. But see you soon."

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