This week a new idol, a new super hero was born into my life – the inspiring and amazing Wendy Davis. I should be ashamed that I only discover this amazing woman now and not around the time of her last successful filibuster in 2011, but better late than never.
At 11.18am on Tuesday, a little-known Texas senator named Wendy Davis stood up and began a passionate speech against a bill that would severely restrict access to abortions in America’s second-largest state.
Standing up to the Texas Senate, which has always been an absolute Republican and Patriarchal stronghold – the 50-year-old Democrat outdid her previous efforts by speaking for nearly 11 hours to successfully derail an anti-abortion vote, without a break to eat or go to the toilet, all while wearing pink trainers.
Who is Wendy Davis?
Davis was the oldest daughter of a single mother and already working at the age of 14, selling subscriptions for her local newspaper and then selling juice drinks at an Orange Julius outlet in a shopping mall to support her single mother and three younger siblings.
By 19 she was divorced and a single mother herself raising the first of her two daughters in a trailer park. Defeating all odds, she still went on to graduate first in her class at Texas Christian University and then won entry to Harvard Law.
The next time I meet anyone who doubts how much one single individual can possibly achieve, I will show them a picture of Wendy Davis.
“Something special is happening in Austin tonight,” @BarackObama tweeted late Tuesday, with the hashtag #StandWithWendy.
What did Wendy Davis fight for (and win)?
Wendy David was fighting against the bill SB5 that had been put before the Texas Senate and was being voted on – her filibuster goal was to delay voting in order to keep this bill from being passed and becoming the law.
What was SB5 in Texas?
It was an anti-choice bill which would have forced all but approx. 5 abortion clinics in the state of Texas to close down (the second largest state in the USA) by placing conditions on clinics—for equipment, for admitting privileges for doctors at hospitals within thirty miles—that would have made it impossible for them to stay open. The best option for some women in Texas would be to end up driving over the Mexican border . SB5 would also have outright outlawed abortion in Texas at or after 20 weeks post-fertilization. There is no exception for rape or incest victims. If the authors of this legislation were at all interested in improving women’s healthcare or protecting and caring for mothers (and children) they would help fund efforts to keep abortion safe, accessible, and legal. Instead this bill drives up the cost of women’s health care considerably, making it less accessible and less safe for all women in Texas.
What did Wendy Davis talk about?
The Texas senator spoke about women’s health, women’s bodies, women’s lives – those of mothers and children. She spoke about pregnancies and how they develop and unfold. She read out stories of people who had testified about the bill. According to the Texas Tribune’s live blog, at one point she cried, reading the testimony of one of the bill’s opponents, a woman who had needed to seek an abortion after twenty weeks because of unexpected medical complications. (“Instead of choosing an outfit for her to move home, I was picking out her burial gown.”)
Senator Wendy David brought to life the workings of democracy, of human and civil rights, of womens’ rights over their own bodies. Senator Wendy Davis proved that one person, one woman can make a difference, that you should stand up for what you believe in and fight for what is right. For yourself and for others. And on top of all this I also have no doubt that Senator Wendy Davis has saved many lives by doing what she did on Tuesday. A huge thank you & applause to the wonderful Senator Wendy Davis.