June 25, 2013

Hundreds of pro-choice Texans protested looming anti-abortion bills at the Capitol in Austin on Sunday by holding a "People's Filibuster."

The Texas House tentatively passed the sweeping abortion bill that would ban the procedure after 20 weeks and would tighten restrictions on clinics so much that nearly all of them in the state would be forced to close. The bill tenatively passed 97–33 at 3:20 a.m. after 13.5 hours of debate, with 19 legislators not present—18 of whom are Democrats. The final vote passed early Monday morning.

A few in the crowd broke out in applause after the bill’s passage, but they were drowned out by cries of “Shame.” The bill still requires a final vote from the House later today before heading to the Senate, where Democrats have vowed a filibuster.

Andrea Grimes, from RH Reality Check was at the Capitol on Sunday for the People's Filibuster, and has written an open letter to anyone who's ready to "write off" Texas:

"Texas is not a throw-away state full of throw-away people who can be shrugged off with a contemptuous, “Well, what do you expect?” Texas is not an outlier. Texas is a test case for right-wingers with their eyes on the coasts and, as Congress showed this week, Washington, D.C.

Three days ago, hundreds of pro-choice activists slammed a House State Affairs committee with just 24 hours’ notice, sending committee chairman Rep. Byron Cook into a full-fledged fluster as he tried to shut them out and shut them up.

Organizers expected this people’s filibuster to be a Hail Mary pass. Instead, it became a rallying cry for Texans who have, for years, felt ignored by Republican and Tea Party legislators who listen only to a handful of anti-science, anti-choice, anti-medicine Bible-thumpers, and who have been wholly disenfranchised by an openly racist redistricting system that explicitly sought to exclude people of color from voting in meaningful numbers for their representatives.

Indeed, I think we can forgive Texans for being a little meek when their anti-choice (“pro-life”) representatives straight up threaten them with guns for holding opposing views."

I think there are at least 700 brave women's rights activists who are going to need some solidarity pizza and coffee during the senate filibuster of this attack on our sisters in Texas.

In this video, protesters and lawmakers react to the House vote. Democratic Rep. Dawanna Dukes tells the pro-choice activists that because of them, "This fight is not over."

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