Davis' filibuster gave voice to abortion rights advocates

Written by Common Cause Interns on July 8, 2013


Thumbnail for the filibuster campaign

By Savannah Thieme

Texas state senator Wendy Davis has become an instant hero ever since her 11-hour filibuster against a bill that would severely curtail abortion rights. Some have pointed out that cheering on Davis while pushing for rules reform in the Senate seems hypocritical. Is the left supporting a filibuster just because it suits their interests?

I say no. Wendy Davis stood, spoke on a topic, and held off normal biological functions for 11 hours. On the other hand, the 60-vote filibuster rule intentionally bottlenecks our lawmaking process, solely for partisan purposes. Washington's filibustering senators are not using their voices or trying to further democracy. They are abusing the rules to kill bills without actually holding the floor for debate, which is like, their job.

There is also a difference between a one-time event and an everyday tactic. The current Senate minority threatens to filibuster daily, and has prevented yes-no votes on legislation ranging from the DREAM Act to campaign finance reform, and job creation. That's a far cry from what Davis did -- using the filibuster as a last resort.

Davis' filibuster was largely comprised of personal accounts from concerned Texans who were silenced and not given a chance to testify earlier in the process. It gave these Texans, at long last, a chance to show their faces to the legislature, despite many stressful attempts made by the Republicans to end her speech. It's sad that Davis was the only hope for this almost-silenced minority, and it's childish to compare it to the well-funded and well-supported Republican minority in the U.S. Senate. Davis was speaking for a minority that could be heard no other way, in a democratic manner that truly allowed the voice of her supporters to cut through the noise.

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: More Democracy Reforms

Tags: The Filibuster

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