- (Photo: Twitter.com/TXChuy)
Even after a 13-hour filibuster and an unruly protest from a crowd of abortion rights advocates in the Texas Senate chamber over one of the toughest anti-abortion bills in America on Tuesday, no one was certain it had passed until someone tweeted a photo that settled everything.
According to the Texas Observer, after the 13-hour filibuster effort of Wendy Davis and her fellow Democrats in the Texas Senate had fizzled 15 minutes before the clock ran out on the bill, its approval seemed almost inevitable.
But it wasn't.
"Thousands of orange-clad abortion-rights activists who packed the Texas Capitol all day began roaring louder and louder until they literally shouted down the final minutes of the 30-day special session before Republicans could pass the bill," notes the Observer.
What followed after that was a three-hour spell of confusion during which no one was sure if the bill had passed before the midnight deadline.
Republicans charged it had and Democrats disputed the claim.
"The initial time stamp on the Capitol website and on Senate documents placed the vote at 12:02 or 12:03 on June 26," noted the Observer, but it was later "mysteriously" changed to reflect that the vote had taken place earlier.
A photo reflecting the discrepancy was eventually posted to Twitter, forcing Republicans to admit at the time that the bill was indeed dead.
Shortly after 3 a.m. on Wednesday, the Texas Senate reconvened and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced that "regrettably," the time expired on the special session and the bill failed to make the vote before the midnight deadline, as reported by the Observer.
Subsequent reports from The New York Times and The Associated Press revealed that while the bill was passed before the deadline, Dewhurst could not sign it in time due to the chaos.
"This is the most incredible thing I've ever seen in my life," Dewhurst told reporters at a press conference after the session.
"An unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics has tried all day to derail legislation that has been intended to protect the lives and the safety of women and babies. … I'm very frustrated … I didn't lose control of what we were doing. We had an unruly mob of hundreds, if not thousands, of people in here, and we couldn't communicate with our members," he said before walking off.
Pro-life advocates like The Catholic Association agreed with Dewhurst.
"What happened in Texas last night was one woman and a small mob overruling the democratic process and the wishes of most Americans. By way of reminder, 73 percent of Americans do not think abortion should be legal in the second trimester and 86 percent do not think it should be legal in the third," noted Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association in a statement on Wednesday.
"After 20 weeks many babies can live outside the womb and the procedure becomes rather brutal. So the abortion lobby killed a bill that would have helped guarantee women's safety in the post-Gosnell era and saved the lives of many babies who could live outside the womb," she added.
President Barack Obama seemed to disagree with that view. During Wendy Davis' filibuster attempt on Wednesday night, he tweeted: "Something special is happening in Austin tonight# StandWithWendy."