Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Moved to stand

I am usually in bed by 9:30.  Making it to the 10 o'clock hour happens less than once a week.  But on June 25th I was up until 1:00 a.m.  Why?  Because I could not stop watching the Texas Tribune's live feed of Wendy Davis' filibuster.

I alternated between crying and cheering as Wendy Davis, her fellow Democrats, and hundreds of citizens in the gallery fought to keep SB5--a law that would reduce the number of abortion clinics in the state from 42 to 5--from passing before the special session ran out.  A week later, looking at this slideshow still brings tears to my eyes.

Unfortunately, the defeat of SB5 may be short-lived.  Rick Perry called another special session the day after the filibuster and the law will likely pass even though the majority of Texans do not support it.

The proceedings have stirred up all sorts of emotions in me.  I am horrified by statements about rape by Jodie Laubenburg, one of the bill's primary sponsors.  I am angry that the bill's supporters are presenting the legislation as a way to protect women's health instead of what it is--an attempt to limit access to abortions.  I am shocked by the Republicans blatant disregard for the democratic process as they continually change the rules to suit their needs.

But most of all, I am inspired.  Wendy Davis, Leticia Van de Putte, Kirk Watson, Rodney Ellis, Royce West, Judith Zaffirini and countless other men and women are fighting to protect women's rights in a state where the odds and the political system are stacked against us.  And not only that--they are doing it with dignity and respect that are too often hard to find in politics.  They are an example to us all.

On Monday our family stood with them and thousands of others on the steps of the state capitol to protest the legislation on the first day of the second special session.

I know that there are caring, compassionate, well-meaning individuals on both sides of the debate.  Life is complex and this issue, like most, is not black and white.  But it is exactly because of this complexity that I do not presume to know or understand another's circumstances and believe that family planning decisions are best left to the individual.

We may not win this battle, but Governor Perry, considered yourself warned.  Senator Davis was right when she said in this article: "I know that it's not a lonely fight that we are going to be fighting.  We are going to be joined by a chorus of voices from all over the state and even all over the country."

(Also, check out this awesome print one of my friends made, inspired by Wendy Davis' filibuster.)


  1. I just read your guest post on Feeding the Soil which was so awesome that I just had to come check out your blog, and then I found this AWESOME piece about your family protesting the Texas abortion ban. I live in NC where similar tactics are being used, and I just feel exhausted. Thanks for reminding me how important it is to show up, even if we are weary. And can't wait to read the rest of your blog!

    1. It's so easy to feel exhausted and emotionally drained when fighting these battles. Even when I was at the protest I went back and forth from feeling excited/inspired/fired up to feeling frustrated/depressed that the ban was going to pass anyway (it passed last Friday). But it's not over yet--a court challenge will happen.

      Thanks for reading!