Jubilation probably came a bit prematurely for those celebrating the demise of the Texas measure that would turn back the clock on reproductive rights.
While many thought that Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis' bold filibuster killed the bill outlawing abortions after 20 weeks' gestation, it merely served to postpone what many think is inevitable: the passage of yet another state measure restricting abortion and creating an insurmountable regulatory obstacle for all but five of the state's 42 abortion clinics, by requiring them to offer the same level of care as ambulatory surgery centers.
Terri Burke, executive director of the Texas
"I am the eternal optimist," said Burke. "There may be something we haven't though of to stop it but absent that, yeah, I think it will pass."
A special session for the part-time
Even if the restrictive measure passes, it will be tied up in litigation, as many legal experts believe that bills trying to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks' gestation conflict with the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling that states may not restrict a woman's right to end a pregnancy before viability, or when the fetus can live outside the womb.
(Three years ago, no states had 20-week bans. Today, 12 states have passed such bills, as has the
The silver lining for advocates of abortion rights, said Burke, is that Davis' filibuster seems to have awakened a sense of outrage in a group that has often seemed complacent as states have steadily chipped away at reproductive choice, requiring ultrasounds, waiting periods, parental consent and other measures designed ultimately to make abortions too difficult to obtain.
Without a doubt, social media have played a part in that awakening.
On Tuesday, it helped ratchet up the intensity in the Texas Legislature. On
"I think it was the Texas Spring," said Burke, alluding to the popular uprisings that swept the Arab world starting in 2010. "I think the ground shifted in Texas last night."
"But it's not just about abortion," she added. "In Texas, this right-wing extremism has dominated our politics, and finally those in the middle, and those who are left-leaning, have found their voice. They really finally realized there were more of them than they thought there were."