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Sen. Wendy Davis' filibuster against abortion bill suspended after 10 hours

12:09 AM, Jun 26, 2013   |    comments
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  • Twitter user "@Shefalil" tweeted this photo with the caption, "Outside the gallery" and used the hashtag "#StandWithWendy" around the time Texas Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis' 10-hour filibuster was suspended. She was trying to prevent the passing of new abortion restrictions



(USA Today)-- Texas' lieutenant governor suspended a filibuster against wide-ranging abortion restrictions, but Democrats moved quickly to appeal the decision.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made the decision Tuesday night after determining that Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis strayed off the topic after 10 hours.

See also: Texas Senator Wendy Davis filibusters against abortion bill

Democrats immediately appealed the decision and set off a heated debate about the rules and whether they could vote on the bill.

Texas is one of several states taking aim at the landmark Supreme Court decision in 1973 that made abortion legal and set off a raging debate on the issue that continues today.

North Dakota is another, and abortion rights advocates on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging two new laws there that impose the nation's toughest abortion restrictions. The lawsuit seeks to block a measure that would ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected.

The Texas bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and force many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities. Doctors would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (48 kilometers) - a challenge in rural communities across the vast state.

A woman living along the Mexico border or in West Texas would have to drive for hours to obtain an abortion if the law passes.

"If this passes, abortion would be virtually banned in the state of Texas, and many women could be forced to resort to dangerous and unsafe measures," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Democrats chose Davis to lead the effort to block the bill because of her background as a woman who had her first child when she was still a teenager and went on to graduate from Harvard Law School.

Davis, wearing pink sneakers for the hours of standing, was greeted by loud applause and cheers of "Go Wendy!" from hundreds of abortion rights activists.

She planned to use up large chunks of time reading into the record testimony from women and doctors who would be impacted by the changes. During one story describing a woman's difficult pregnancy, Davis choked up several times and wiped away tears.

A petite woman who stays in shape by jogging and cycling, Davis tried to stay comfortable by shifting her weight from hip to hip and slowly walking around her desk while reading notes from a large binder on her desk.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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