Target: Texas GOP Senators
Goal: Condemn senators for trying to pass anti-abortion bill after midnight deadline
Senator Wendy Davis famously held a 13-hour-long filibuster recently on the floor of the Texas Senate House to ensure that an anti-abortion bill could not be voted on. The rules of this filibuster were incredibly strict and were followed to the letter throughout the day. As the time ran out, however, the senators turned around and disregarded their own rules to attempt a vote after the session had ended. Even though this has since been rightfully overturned, it was still disgraceful that these GOP senators would attempt voting fraud right in front of so many people.
After having silenced Wendy Davis with an accusation that a point she had made (one related to sonograms being forced upon Texas women seeking abortions), the senators tried to commence voting on the bill, which was sure to pass if they had the chance to vote. Several of Senator Davis’ supporters in the Senate then spoke and raised a number of points and parliamentary questions to run down the clock. Once they too were silenced, the gallery then took up the job of stalling until time ran out by cheering so loudly that the senators were unable to take roll call to vote on the bill. One female member of the gallery notably shouted, “We are the people! We are your constituents! Listen to us!”
Midnight, when the session was forced to close, was rung in by the gallery’s continued cheering. At this point, senators from the GOP attempted to vote on the bill anyway even though it was after midnight. Many of the other senators were unsure of what was happening and the scene was very chaotic.
Senators from the Texas GOP tried to commit voting fraud in front of hundreds of live witnesses and nearly 180,000 watching online. Let these senators know that what they did was wrong and will not be overlooked or forgotten.
Dear Texas GOP Senators,
After Senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster in the Texas Senate, you attempted to pass Senate Bill 5, a bill that would significantly restrict access to abortion clinics, even after the midnight deadline. Throughout the day, you held Senator Davis responsible for following the rules of a filibuster very strictly. The fact that you then proceeded to blatantly attempt to cast an illegal vote on SB 5 is nothing short of disgraceful.
The disregard you showed for the hundreds of thousands of people watching as you attempted to cast an illegal vote shows the brash disrespect and entitlement you feel toward your constituents. The unpopularity of SB 5 was clear through the senators’ joint-effort filibuster and the gallery’s inability to contain their passionate opposition.
As senators, you were elected to uphold the popular opinion of the people you are representing and to reflect the will of the majority. The majority, in this case, was very clearly against the passing of SB 5, but you chose to continue your attempts, illicit and otherwise, to pass the bill despite this.
You are also under an obligation to follow the rules of the Senate. Despite having held Senator Davis very closely to these rules, you seemed very comfortable breaking them when it suited your own ends. The biggest instance of this was of course when the bill was attempted to be voted on after the session had ended at midnight, but there were several other examples of this happening throughout the day. Senator Von de Putte tried to call the session to an early end (a motion that should have been heard above all other questions happening at the time according to the rules) and was ignored and unrecognized by the Senate President.
This disregard for government procedures and for respecting the will of the people whom you are meant to represent is disgraceful. I would ask you to very sincerely reconsider what your position as a senator entails.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Matthew Whitehead via Flickr