A vote on a Texas bill that would have restricted abortion practices in the state descended into chaos in the early hours of Wednesday morning as lawmakers said the final vote was made after the deadline passed.
While Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said a 19-10 vote favoring passage of Senate Bill 5 was made, computer records show the vote came after midnight. The proposed measure would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and would require all clinics to be graded as surgical centers, with all doctors required to have admitting privileges at hospitals.
The final vote on SB5 came after a 13-hour filibuster attempt by Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) ran afoul of a three-strikes rule, igniting a series of motions, appeals and parliamentary inquiries. With the midnight deadline approaching, though, it was the loud jeers and cheers from a vocal crowd of protesters inside the chamber that ultimately derailed a vote on SB5.
On Wednesday, Texas Catholic Conference, an association of the Roman Catholic dioceses in Texas, released a statement expressing “disappointment that disruptions in the Senate chamber thwarted” the senators from passing Senate Bill 5 before the midnight deadline.
“As a result, measures to protect unborn life and to increase the health and safety of Texas women have been delayed,” the statement read. “Given this and other essential issues that are awaiting legislative action, the TCC urges Governor Perry to call a second special session quickly to address this and the other issues that were not resolved before time ran out on the first special session.”
According to the Texas Catholic Conference statement, SB5 had the potential to reduce the number of abortions in Texas and represented a tremendous advance for ensuring the health and safety of Texas women.
For more on the Texas Catholic Conference’s response, visit www.txcatholic.org.