Update, 2:40 P.M. CST: This story has been updated to reflect the Texas legislature's recess until July 9.
Texas state senator Wendy Davis might have won a battle after a long filibuster June 25, but the war on Texas Senate Bill 5 will still battle on with Davis at the front lines.
Davis, TCU alumna of 1990, filibustered for 11 hours last Tuesday to defeat SB5, a bill that would set new restrictions on abortion in the state and force all but five abortion clinics in Texas to close its doors.
After the announcement of a failed bill early Wednesday morning, Texas Governor Rick Perry called for a special session to take place Monday, July 1, in order to save the anti-abortion bill.
The session began at 2 p.m. in the state capitol, but was adjourned quickly after Lt. Governor David Dewhurst announced a recess until July 9.
Davis’ original filibuster garnered more than 183,000 viewers online and 730,000 tweets including one from President Barack Obama which ended with the hashtag #StandWithWendy. Her Twitter following grew from just more than 1,000 followers before the filibuster to more than 121,000 this morning.
Hundreds of Davis supporters flooded the chambers of the capitol last week, cheering the senator on throughout the day. Davis encourages supporters to continue to be an active part of Monday’s session.
“If you can’t be there in person, be there on the internet, pay attention and if you have time to come and have your voice heard please do so,” Davis said in a phone interview with TCU 360 Sunday. “If you can’t come, call offices of legislators that represent you and make sure that you express your opinions and your feelings to their offices.”
If Senate Bill 5 passes into law, Texas women will not be able to receive abortion services after 20-weeks of pregnancy. It will also close all but two abortion clinics in Houston and one in San Antonio, one in Dallas-Fort Worth and one in Austin.
The number of doctors who will be qualified under state law to provide this service will also dramatically decrease, Davis said.
“What I would imagine is that these five centers are not going to be able to serve the needs even within their own communities if we allow the availability of doctors to get choked down the way this bill is attempting to do,” Davis said.
The Fort Worth Senator offered advice for college students as to why being proactive in the legislative process is important for the future. Davis said it is important for young people to get out and vote for those who are representing issues that are important to them and who plan to devote themselves to those issues.
“I think a lot of times people fall back on their party comfort zone and they just vote based on party,” Davis said. “What they may not know is that the person they’re voting for is actually voting against things that they care about.”
Last week was not Davis’ first filibuster; the Fort Worth native fought a bill which cut education funding in 2011, forcing Governor Perry to call for a special session.
Miles Davison, senior philosophy major, interned with the senator last spring and said the attention his former employer is receiving is far overdue. Davison said with the Republican-dominated senate, he would not be surprised if SB5 did pass despite Davis’ fight, but he hopes that the national attention and reaction did not go unnoticed by the Texas Senate.
He said he hopes that the combination of Davis’ past efforts and the surge coming with this summer’s abortion fight will take the senator to an even larger stage.
“She really has a strong voice for groups of people who don’t traditionally have the privilege to have their voices be heard on senate floors,” Davison said. “I think her filibuster was just an example of that.”
Other students agreed with Davison, and said they would want to see Davis continue to increase her influence in Texas politics.
“Wendy Davis is a hero in my eyes in her fight for women's choice and for education as well,” junior political science major Samantha Bauman said. “I hope she does run for Texas governor because she certainly has earned my vote.”