June 25, 2014 marks the one-year anniversary of Wendy Davis’s 11-hour filibuster of HB2/SB5 and I’m just as filled with excitement and fear and joy and sadness as I was a year ago.
A quick run-down of what this bill means for Texans: all but a few abortion clinics in Texas will be shuttered, abortions after 20 weeks are illegal (the bill has no exceptions for victims of rape or incest), doctors must obtain the difficult-to-obtain admitting privileges to a nearby hospital, and outdated dosing procedures for the abortion pill.
This time last year, I’d already been through the testimonies for the House State Affairs committee, sitting in the front row on my laptop tweeting out bits of personal stories, Rep. Byron Cook’s calling those stories “repetitive”, and the reactions when he announced that he would be cutting the meeting short without allowing all registered speakers to testify. I’d already been through the bill’s passage in the House, crying in the Capitol’s hallways at 3:45am with hundreds of others as the likes of Rep. Jessica Farrar and Rep. Senfronia Thompson thanked us for our fight.
On the morning of June 25, I took off work, put on my orange Stand With Texas Women shirt, and packed my phone, laptop, and chargers. I felt certain that if the bill could pass through the House then it would pass through the Senate, but I was going to be there when it did. I was going to sit in the Gallery with hundreds of other Texans (along with the hundreds outside) and watch the senators vote against our physical, emotional, and financial well-being.
For 13 hours, I tweeted updates from my seat in the Gallery above Lt. Governor David Dewhurst’s desk. I silently joked and silently cried and silently mouthed my reactions with my neighbors. For 11 hours, Davis read personal testimonies (none of which felt “repetitive”, Byron). Again and again, opposing senators asked her to pause and submit to questioning. Her response: I Will Not Yield.