A controversial Texas abortion-related bill was finally declared dead at 4:01 a.m. ET, the work of hours of a standing, talking filibuster by 50-year-old Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis (D).
Senate Democrats chose Davis, of Fort Worth, to head up the filibuster effort because of her background. She had her first child as a teenager, and went on to graduate from Harvard Law School. By late Tuesday evening, Democrats were chanting her name and promoting a “#StandWithWendy” hashtag on Twitter, and even President Barack Obama’s campaign account tweeted a mention.
The Texas bill would have served as some of the most restrictive measures on abortion in the nation. It would have banned most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy while creating new regulations for abortion clinics and their doctors. The bill’s critics said it would have shut most of the abortion clinics in Texas.
Davis began speaking late Tuesday morning, donning a pair of pink running shoes for her lengthy effort. Under Texas rules, she could not so much as lean on her desk or take a break for meals or to go to the bathroom.
In the afternoon, when it became clear that the effort had a chance of succeeding, Davis’ name went national. According to The Associated Press, she jumped from about 1,200 Twitter followers when the filibuster began to more than 65,000 as of Wednesday morning.
When the clock approached midnight — after Davis had stopped talking and lawmakers began bickering over procedural rules — almost 200,000 people were watching a livestream of the State Senate.
It’s unclear what’s next for Davis, but she became something of a national Democratic star on Tuesday. Her filibuster earned late-night mentions from prominent Washington politicians — including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) — as well as celebrities from Julianne Moore to Ricky Gervais.
“I have to say in my short experience here I’ve never experienced a day at the Capitol like this one and I think people who have been here a lot longer than me will say the same thing,” Davis told reporters afterward.
“What I think it accomplished is what I hoped it would and that was to inspire people to understand that there are voices here on the senate floor that represent them. And I felt empowered by their presence by their support by the letters. … They made a difference and they are what makes Texans so amazing. And I am proud to be a Texan tonight.”
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