legislative package that she said would take the state to a "dark place." She
also read personal testimony and statements from health organizations opposed to
At times, Davis choked with emotion and brushed back tears as she read accounts from Texas women who recounted their personal experiences over abortion.
The bill calls for a ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and would impose tighter standards for abortion clinics and doctors who perform the procedures.
Republicans say the measures are designed to protect women from unsafe abortions. Democrats have attacked the provisions as a politically-motivated GOP attempt to close most of the state's 42 abortion clinics.
(EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM)
Davis entered the chamber shortly after 11 a.m. wearing a long white jacket over a flower print dress and pink Mizuno running shoes. Abortion rights supporters packing the gallery applauded and shouted "Go Wendy" and "Thank you, Wendy."
Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, the Senate's Democratic leader, acknowledged that the issue "is a matter of great passion" but joined Dewhurst in urging spectators to maintain decorum and avoid outbursts.
Davis supporters outside the chamber signaled their support through the day. "We are with you," tweeted the Texas Democratic Party.
Diana Viviana, a 61-year-old activist from Fort Worth, drove to Austin on Sunday and stayed to watch the filibuster as the abortion bill moved to the Senate after passage in the House. Although she doesn't live in Davis' district, she voiced unabashed enthusiasm for the Fort Worth senator.
"I think she could be president of the United States," she said. I think she could be anything she wanted to."
Another Fort Worth resident, self-employed antique dealer Paula Smith, also witnessed the talk-a-thon to display support for what she called a "very important cause."
"I don't believe men should decide what women should do with their bodies," she said. Of Davis, Smith said: "She's our star."
Senators had little options for rescuing the two other bills on the calendar. The Senate could get to the bills if Davis' filibuster ends or if Sen. Glenn Hegar Jr., R-Katy, moves to postpone consideration of the abortion bill, a move that would kill the abortion measure but would allow consideration of the other bills.
As the filibuster stretched into mid-afternoon, Republicans showed no signs of panic as they contemplated ways to remove Davis from the floor.
"We'll see how it rides out," said Hegar. "We've still got a little ways in this session."
Tuesday's talk-a-thon in a sense constituted an encore to a filibuster Davis waged at the end of the 2011 regular session to oppose more than $5 billion in education cuts. Her stand against the Republican-backed abortion package is also likely to further stoke Davis' persona as a Democratic candidate for governor or another statewide office.
The Fort Worth attorney, a former city council member, is currently running for re-election in her Tarrant County Senate district but has not ruled out interest in a future statewide race.
Five Republican House members from Tarrant County sought to counter Davis' filibuster by staging a press conference behind stacks of box filled with 84,610 blanks sheets of paper, which they said represented the number of Texas abortions performed in 2011. The lawmakers said they were responding to a Davis tweet calling on constituents to share their stories "so I can tell it from the Senate floor."
"It is my hope and prayer that Sen. Davis would recognize all the letters that will never be written due to the tragedy of abortion today," said Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford. Also present were Reps. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, and Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake.
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KeyWords:: BC-TEXAS-ABORTION:FT BC TEXAS ABORTION FT
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