After an epic 13 hour-long filibuster attempt, Texas Senator Wendy Davis successfully struck down brutal abortion bill SB5 that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and close most abortion clinics in the state.
The filibuster—which was to consist of Davis standing and speaking for thirteen hours straight in order to force the Texas Senate to miss a midnight deadline to pass the bill—began early yesterday, but was halted at about 10 PM CDT when Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst claimed that Davis had violated the strict rules of a filibuster after 11 hours. Senators spent the next hour debating whether or not she did actually violate the rules of a filibuster, before scrambling to vote on the abortion bill before the clock struck midnight.
According to Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, the vote came in "just before" 12 AM CDT—but others were skeptical.
Sure enough, they were right to be: Screenshots of the official SB5 results page initially showed that the vote was taken on 6/26/2013—which would mean after midnight.
The page went down after a couple of minutes, and when it returned, the date read 6/25/2013 instead:
It's not clear whether or not the page was tampered with (a punishable crime), but according to Technology Policy Analyst Kathy Gill at The Moderate Vote, that seems likely because, "pages like this one are automatically generated from a database file...in other words, a person doesn’t code the page. In order to change something like this, someone has to change the database."
Still, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst ultimately announced that the vote did in fact come three minutes after the midnight deadline, and the bill was proclaimed officially dead. For now, anyway—it remains likely that the bill will return in some form later, but for now, some time has at least been bought. Leslie Knope would be proud:
Today is a really good day for civil rights: Earlier this morning, the Supreme Court officially announced that the Defense of Marriage Act—the federal law that defined marriage as just between a man and a woman, and restricted the rights of married couples to only opposite sex couples—was declared unconstitutional.
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