The Texas State Senate Has Devolved Into Parliamentary Chaos Over Abortion

texas lights satellite map

Today is the last day of a special session where the Texas legislature is considering a bill to impose sweeping new restrictions on abortion.

The bill would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and set new facilities requirements that abortion rights advocates say would cause most abortion clinics in the state to close.

The Texas House of Representatives passed the bill earlier this week, but the Senate hasn’t voted on it yet and must adjourn at midnight central time. At 11:18 AM, State Senator Wendy Davis (D) rose to filibuster the bill.

Davis spoke for almost 11 hours, but around 10 PM a Republican Senator raised a point of order arguing that Davis had strayed off the topic of abortion and therefore must yield the floor. The presiding officer sustained the point of order, ending the filibuster.

Abortion-rights supporters had filled the gallery and were outraged. They erupted into chants of “Let her speak!” temporarily stopping business.

Now, order has been restored and Democrats using parliamentary tactics to stall the vote, including appealing the chair’s ruling on the of the point of order and raising repeated points of parliamentary inquiry.

That might sound boring, but over 107,000 people were watching the livestream of the session as of 10:42 PM central time.

You can watch below. If the Democrats succeed in stalling until midnight, the bill will die. If it passes, Gov. Rick Perry (R) has said he will sign it.

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