2014 Election
1:37 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Texas Democrats Mark Filibuster Anniversary Ahead of Convention

Abortion rights supporters gathered last night to mark one year since State Sen. Wendy Davis's filibuster of legislation restricting abortions in Texas.

The Democratic gubernatorial candidate from Fort Worth spoke at an event Wednesday marking the day, but also aimed at gathering momentum for her race against her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Most at the Palmer Event Center in Austin wore orange – the color adopted by abortion rights activists last legislative session rallying against a bill restricting abortion in Texas.

That included Sen. Davis, D-Fort Worth, who praised the crowd and her fellow Democratic lawmakers who helped her the night of the filibuster. But she added the effort to bring progressive politics to Texas continues – a nod to the upcoming election in November.

"We filibustered to fight against an abusive power by political insiders who look out for themselves and their allies instead of hard working Texans," she said. "Insiders who did everything they could to shut me up, shut inside the filibuster and silence the voices of Texas across the state."

When Davis said they wouldn’t be silenced, the crowd erupted in cheers.

They also shouted when fellow Democrats spoke before her, like State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, who’s running for lieutenant governor. She repeated her question from that night that got the crowds yelling until the clock ran out.

"So my 20 words -- at what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room? It was you, the response that you had!"

Davis has sparingly brought up abortion rights during her bid for the governor’s seat. Even last night she praised people for being vocal about their opinions at the Capitol, focusing less on her stance on abortion rights.

Earlier in the day, a group of lawmakers and anti-abortion activists spoke at the Capitol to describe the filibuster as a failure and said the abortion law, which passed in a subsequent special session, is a success for the state.

State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, wrote the bill. She was asked why she chose to spoke yesterday instead of the one year anniversary of her bill's passage.

"It’s a celebration and be it today or the actual day, the fact is that the bill got passed. And there were a lot of folks in town so it all worked out today," Laubenberg said.

We can expect to hear more about abortion –  and Davis' filibuster – as Texas Democrats gather for their state party convention in Dallas starting tonight.

An MP3 version of this story.