It was the filibuster that garnered national attention. Texas Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat from the Fort Worth area, decided to raise her profile and put on a filibuster as the Texas legislature began its last day of Special Session.
The hill on which she chose to die was to reject a senate bill that would require doctors that perform abortions to be properly licensed, credentialed to practice at nearby hospitals, and to perform late term abortions - those after 20 weeks - in a surgical facility.
So, in the action that proved to escape the note of irony of a big government Democrat demanding less government regulation/intervention in medical proceedings for women, Wendy Davis was in the spotlight and the media darling Tuesday night. Even President Obama succumbed to the urge to tweet his support:
Something special is happening in Austin tonight: http://OFA.BO/CBZ6c7 #StandWithWendy
Of course Barack Obama supports such action. He thinks it is special to turn a blind eye to the atrocities of Gosnell-style clinics, one of which has been discovered right here in Houston. He holds a trail of votes supporting late term abortions and of born alive infanticide support, too. This is who he is. The Democrats have laid bare the narrative that, as Hillary Clinton is fond of saying, they want abortions to be legal, safe and rare.
Wendy Davis has been mentioned as a potential candidate for governor in recent weeks. There is little chance that a Democrat will be governor in 2014 but with the advances of groups like Battleground Texas enjoying full support from their friends in the media, Davis would naturally need to raise her name recognition across the state. What better way than to bring in OFA groups, like Battleground Texas to turn the process into a feeding frenzy for the press? They were only too happy to oblige.
A friend noted a change in reporting by Austin media of Senator Davis and her tendency to grandstand:
"Texas Monthly, today: "After last night’s dramatic filibuster, read why we chose Senator Wendy Davis made our list of 10 Best Legislators of 2013."
Texas Monthly, last week: "While Davis sometimes couldn’t resist the urge to grandstand, she kept that impulse mostly in check as the session progressed, instead focusing her energies on compromise and bipartisanship."
Funny how that happens, right?
Here is the thing- I support Senator Davis in carrying out her right to filibuster. As a Republican, I also supported U.S. Senator Rand Paul when he filibustered over drones and surveillance in Washington. I am a process person and I relish politicians who actually carry out the political process. The problem with the filibuster today is that it is rarely carried out and when it is, it is not properly done. During the filibuster process of Senator Davis, there was much grousing when she was instructed to follow the traditional process, like remain standing, for instance. Yes, filibusters are an exercise in endurance. That's the point. Politicians have gotten soft. I give her credit for the length of her filibuster and her stamina.
The real loser in this exercise is Lt. Governor Dewhurst. As president of the senate, he was the one in charge. He lost control towards the end, which was midnight Tuesday night. The Special Session ended at midnight and while Democrats were running out the clock to block the vote on SB5, Dewhurst lost on strategy. Instead of winding up the filibuster on procedural points earlier, he allowed it to drag on. During that time, instead of two other important bills being brought for votes - those on transportation and juvenile justice - the time was all devoted to SB5.
The stunning part of Dewhurst's failure to lead was brought to light when he allowed protesters in the gallery to derail the vote. Using tactics similar to the unions in Wisconsin at their state house, the protesters yelled and chanted unchecked by security. Security should have been there in advance - it was no secret that the protesters would be there and the filibuster was well publicized by all the usual groups in social media - and ready to clear the gallery when it all began.
The vote was not taken until just before midnight and ended at 12:03 AM, which was past the end of the Special Session.
So, no one won. Women will still be subjected to taking a chance on an abortion performed in the last trimester of pregnancy by a doctor willing to snip or chop or just let a live birth die on a table. Doctors who are not qualified to be credentialed at hospitals or surgery centers will continue to butcher the reproductive organs of young women.
I say all of this as a Republican woman who is more libertarian on social issues than many within my party. I am old enough to remember when Roe v Wade became the law of the land. I remember hearing of older sisters of friends traveling to another state to have an abortion when abortion was illegal in my state. We now have technology that is far more advanced than in 1973 - the year of my high school graduation. It all brings late term abortions into new territory.
This isn't an easy issue. I do think, in this instance, the Texas legislature lost an opportunity to vastly improve on the treatment of women in these circumstances. I also think Wendy Davis and her cohorts in the Democratic party should be chastised for such cruel behavior all in the name of political expediency instead of touted as heroes by the media and other liberal politicians.
Even if the bill had passed, the meme that all the abortions clinics in Texas would have to close was never reality. To remain in business, the regulations for the safety of women would have to be implemented. And, the notion that somehow women would not be able to get to such hospitals or surgery centers? Nonsense. Women do it for all other medical care. If abortion is viewed as a "health care" issue by proponents, then it should also be in a hospital setting. That's just common sense.
Unless, of course, it is just all about advancing a political agenda for the next election.
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