What’s Going On
Here in Texas, Republicans are waging an all-out assault on women. After the close of the regular legislative session, Governor Rick Perry called a special session to fast-track severe abortion restrictions that would close 37 of the state’s 42 abortion providers. This comes on the heels of vicious cuts to women’s health and family planning in 2011, which slashed 75% of the budget for what is primarily preventative care and access to birth control. Oh, and Perry also vetoed the Texas Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act that passed with bipartisan support in 2013.
During the regular legislative session in which female legislators from both parties stood up against further attacks on women’s health — though let’s be honest, there wasn’t much left to dismantle. However, Perry decided to add abortion restrictions to an initial special session that was initially called to pass redistricting maps. (The maps suck and are intentionally discriminatory against minorities, but that’s a topic for another time).
Texas women stood up against the abortion restrictions. Planned Parenthood organized women to stand in the Senate dressed in 1950’s garb, while NARAL sent “tangerine vagilantes” in orange shirts to silently display their opposition. The movement grew when several of the abortion bills were heard in a State Affairs committee — pro-choice groups and the Democratic Party organized hundreds of women to attend to tell their stories about why they oppose the bill. When Committee Chair Byron Cook silenced the women by cutting off testimony, he tossed gasoline on a long-smoldering anger of women who had long ago grown sick and tired of Republicans’ endless chipping away at reproductive rights.
Hundreds of Texans thronged the Capitol for the second reading of the bill on the State House floor, during which Democrats valiantly offered sane amendments and sharp commentary on the bill in an effort to slow its passage. Eventually the bill made it out of the House and back to the Senate, but a mandatory 24-hour waiting period — which Dewhurst tried to out-maneuver due to the absence of Democratic Senator Leticia Van de Putte, who was attending her father’s funeral — put the firm Tuesday, June 25 midnight deadline within reach of a valiant last stand by the Democrats.
The first session ended with the now-famous filibuster by State Senator Wendy Davis, who read testimonies cut off by Cook and others submitted via email and engaged in debate with her colleagues on the Senate floor for over 11 hours, until she was silenced by Republican points of order. Her Democratic colleagues debated those points of order until with less than 15 minutes to go, the Senate Gallery erupted into shouts and screams against the bill and the gross abuse of Senate rules that was facilitating its passage. The clock ran out on the special session, and after it was ascertained that the bill did not pass, Perry called everyone back to do it again.
So that’s where we are: back for a second special session to pass unwanted abortion restrictions that a galvanizing citizen-led effort helped shut down the first time.
This page will serve as BOR’s information hub over the next few weeks, centralizing our coverage of the session and ongoing efforts to chronicle the Texas war on women. Below, check out all of our coverage to date, follow along with our live-blogs, and keep your eyes on us as we keep our eyes on Texas politics.
Connect on Social Media
It’s hard to overstate the role of social media in organizing citizen opposition to these anti-woman bills and making visible Senator Davis’s filibuster and the outpouring of support for her efforts. Stay connected during this next special session.
Today’s Coverage — Friday, July 12
The Senate is taking their final vote on HB 2, which was substituted for SB 1 after passing out of the House, and in turn passed out of the Senate HHS committee yesterday. A march and rally are planned by the Stand With Texas Women coalition upon Senate adjournment, leaving from the Capitol grounds.
All BOR Liveblogs
Burnt Orange Report will publish a live blog on each day that features
a relevant hearing, floor vote, or citizen action related to the War on Women.
7.12.13 — HB 2 Liveblog: Senate Vote and Stand With Texas Women Rally Today at the Capitol // Live coverage from the scenes of the final vote on Texas’s backwards anti-woman legislation.
7.8.13 — SB1 Liveblog: Senate Health and Human Services Hearing and Anti-Choice Sideshow // Live coverage from the Senate Health and Human Services Committee Hearing!
7.2.13 — HB 2 Liveblog: Stand With Texas Women at the State Affairs Hearing // Live coverage from the Capitol extension of witnesses and testimony
7.1.13 — Liveblog: Standing With Texas Women as the Second Special Session Begins // Live coverage of the rally and trainings at the Capitol
6.25.13 — SB 5 Filibuster Liveblog: Shut That Whole Thing Down // Live coverage of Senator Wendy Davis’s epic filibuster
All Special Session Coverate
Catch up on all of our coverage of the first special session, controversy surrounding SB 5, and Wendy Davis’s filibuster.
Second Special Session
If at first you don’t succeed, continue wasting taxpayer money to pass divisive, unwanted legislation.
- Anti-Choicers Uphold Texas Values By Importing Non-Texans to Monday Rally at Capitol // Shelby Alexander // 7.7.13
- Senate Bill 1 Not The Way To Protect Life and Women’s Health // Senator Carlos Uresti // 7.7.13
- Another Special Session Republican Bill Might Be Unconstitutional // Nick Hudson // 7.5.13
- The Rally at High Noon: Renewed Energy for Reproductive Rights in Texas // Genevieve Cato // 7.4.13
- SB 1 Senate Committee Meeting on Monday: Will Texans Continue To Be Shut Out? // Katherine Haenschen // 7.3.13
- Texas Democratic Officials Call For Statewide Hearings On Abortion Bill // Joe Deshotel // 7.3.13
- Bro-Choice: How HB 2 Hurts Texas Men Who Like Women // Ben Sherman // 7.3.13
- The Bright Light Social Hour Opens for Natalie Maines and Wendy Davis at SWTW Rally // Joe Deshotel // 7.1.13
- Best Tweets From The #StandWithTXWomen Rally Monday // Ben Sherman // 7.1.13
- House State Affairs Committee to Meet Tuesday at 3:30pm; Will Limit Testimony on HB 2 // Chaille Jolink // 7.1.13
- Stand With Texas Women: Monday Rally and Training Schedule // Katherine Haenschen // 7.1.13
- Rick Perry Calls Second Special Session to Pass Extreme Abortion Restrictions // Ben Sherman // 6.26.13
The Aftermath of Wendy Davis’s Filibuster
Arrests, investigations, and threats — oh my! Texas Republicans have lost control.
- SB 5 Timestamp Change to be Investigated by Public Integrity Unit // Ben Sherman // 6.30.13
- Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and AG Greg Abbott Consider Charges Against Student Who Led Eyes of Texas // Joe Deshotel // 6.29.13
- Statement from Martha Northington’s Attorney and The Officer Affidavit on Her Arrest in Senate Chamber // Joe Deshotel // 6.28.13
- Speculation on SB 5 Timestamp Change Continues; Was It A Felony? // Shelby Alexander // 6.28.13
- 72-Year-Old Woman Arrested During Wendy Davis Filibuster, Charged With Felony // Joe Deshotel // 6.27.13
The Fight to Defeat SB 5 in the Senate
Our chronicle of the march from the first committee hearings to the final post-midnight vote.
- The Bodies The Republican Senate Could Not Bully or Control // Katherine Haenschen // 6.26.13
- Did The Texas Senate Really Pass SB 5? // Chaille Jolink // 6.26.13
- Stand With Wendy! A Primer on Texas Filibusters // Katherine Haenschen // 6.25.13
- Key Quotes on SB 5 // Ben Sherman // 6.25.13
- SB 5 Primer: What You Need To Know // Chaille Jolink // 6.25.13
- SB 5 Action Alert: Come Early, Stay Late, Wear Orange // Katherine Haenschen // 6.24.13
- Extreme Anti-Abortion Legislation Heard in Senate Committee // Shelby Alexander // 6.14.13
- Abortion Bills to be Heard in Senate Committee This Thursday // NARAL Texas // 6.12.13
Texans Stand Up Against Abortion Bills in The House
Tracking the bills’ movement in the first special session through the lower chamber.
- Texas Republicans Continue War on Women, Texans Fight Back // Joe Deshotel // 6.24.13
- Representative Jessica Farrar: “The Majority Cannot Ignore the Rest of Texans” // Katherine Haenschen // 6.24.13
- Texas Capitol Floods With Support for Women’s Rights // Chaille Jolink // 6.23.13
- Tomorrow: Texas House Hears Abortion Bills // Shelby Alexander // 6.22.13
- Bipartisan Poll Shows Texans Oppose Perry-Dewhurst Back-Door Abortion Ban // Katherine Haenschen // 6.21.13
- Anti-Choice Legislation Hearing in House Committee: What You Can Do // Shelby Alexander // 6.19.13
Republicans Behaving Badly
Faced with a high-profile defeat as the nation watched, Texas Republicans garnered widespread criticism.
- Tea Partiers Can’t Comprehend Pro-Choice Texans, Gandhi, Among Other Things // Shelby Alexander // 6.30.13
- Rick Perry Insults Wendy Davis AGAIN // Ben Sherman // 6.28.13
- Rick Perry Attacks and Insults Wendy Davis // Ben Sherman // 6.27.13
- How Senate Republicans Destroyed The State Senate Through Bullying // John Woods // 6.27.13
- Read the Offensive Email David Dewhurst Sent Last Night // Ben Sherman // 6.27.13
- David Dewhurst Enjoyed Dinner and Basketball As Texas Senators Chipped Away at Reproductive Rights // Shelby Alexander // 6.19.13
Additional #txlege Coverage
… and here’s everything else.
- Republican House Speaker Joe Straus Joins Chorus of People Criticizing Perry’s Comments // Ben Sherman // 6.30.13
- Op-Ed: Leticia Van de Putte, Standing With Texas Women // Leticia Van de Putte // 6.30.13
- Round-Up of Wendy Davis’ Appearances on This Morning’s Sunday Talk Shows // Katherine Haenschen // 6.30.13
- Texas Leaves 2.3 Million on the Table While Health Clinics Close // Chaille Jolink // 6.20.13
- Rick Perry Vetoes Texas Lilly Ledbetter Act Putting Pay Discrimination Ahead of Texas Families // Katherine Haenschen // 6.14.13
- Perry Adds Partisan Issues to Special Session Call // Chaille Jolink // 6.11.13
- A Brief History of Blocker Bills in Redistricting Special Sessions // Katherine Haenschen // 5.29.13