Was Tuesday Night a Turning Point in Texas?

tfnwithcecile2As expected, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has announced that state lawmakers will be back in Austin for a second legislative special session starting July 1. Lawmakers will again take up critical transportation and criminal justice bills that they failed to pass in the first special session because the governor and far-right legislators were more interested in promoting the war on women.

During the first special session, religious-righters had arrogantly assumed that they could easily ram through passage of their extreme agenda — including legislation interfering in the personal medical decisions women make with their doctors about whether and when to have children. But they suffered a painful defeat in a raucous Senate chamber Tuesday night.

There were a lot of heroes responsible for Tuesday’s historic victory for Texas women. Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, held the floor by courageously speaking against Senate Bill 5 for 11 hours. Other Democratic senators, including Kirk Watson of Austin, Rodney Ellis of Houston, Royce West of Dallas, and San Antonio’s Leticia Van de Putte (who arrived in the chamber just hours after her father’s funeral), also played critical roles in defeating SB 5.

But the staff of our incredible coalition partners — Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Annie’s List and The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity — were the unsung heroes of the incredible mobilization over the past week. They rallied thousands of grassroots activists — both at the Capitol and in communities across the state — to stand up against the extremists attacking women and their access to reproductive health care.

TFN staff and supporters were among those activists. (The accompanying photo shows TFN staffers with our founder and current Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards at the Capitol late Tuesday night.) We watched religious-righters hurl vicious insults at us all day — “feminazis,” “whiners,” even “terrorists.” But it became clear to us that their war on women has awakened a sleeping giant in Texas. (This slideshow from the Texas Tribune recaps yesterday’s dramatic events.)

Tuesday night confirmed what TFN has been saying for 18 years: grassroots action has the power to defeat the religious right in Texas. But this fight is far from over. Defeating the religious right in the second special session will be even harder. They have vast sources of funding and obedient legislators (as well as Gov. Perry) pushing their divisive and intolerant agenda.

But no matter what happens over the next four weeks, Tuesday night was special. After so many years of the religious right relentlessly advancing its agenda in Texas, perhaps we have reached a turning point. But activists across Texas — including those who spent long hours at the Capitol over the past week, who made telephone calls and sent emails to their legislators, and who talked to friends and family about why the war on women has to end — must stay engaged.

The road ahead will be filled with tough battles, and we’ll suffer defeats. But we will also see more victories as we work together to bring important changes to Texas. Tuesday night showed us how.

19 thoughts on “Was Tuesday Night a Turning Point in Texas?

    1. They can’t evolve because they do not believe in doing that. They want to keep other people from evolving either.

      The only time republicans evolve is when their son or daughter is gay or if their daughter needs an abortion or if their son or daughter is gay. Of course, then there are the Republican politicians who send their mistresses off on a Mexican vacation when they need an abortion,not that dems that do it are any better. These guys haven’t evolved they are just scum.

  1. Nah!!! They’ll succeed this time, and the first U.S. District Court judge that gets it will kill it on sight. Perry is running a scam that he knows will never hold up to an actual legal test. But all the rhubarbs will say:

    “Look it at Perry. Heeza doin’ it!!! Yee-Haw Hoss!! Let’s vote fer heeyum!!!”

    Dead as a door nail. Mark my word.

  2. How can we get Wendy Davis to move to west Houston and run for Congress in Texas 7. She has more cojones than our current bought and paid for Congressperson (Culberson).

  3. I wish Tuesday night was a turning point. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that’s a premature call. Gov Perry and his GOP thugs are still in power, and he’s calling for a second special session to get HB5 (and other beloved Republickin bills) passed. I’m afraid they’re likely to pass.

  4. I agree with Sherrie Allyn. Unfortunately, Perry will begin again Monday. And I’m afraid this time he’ll call in more troopers and there will be people going to jail. What is the strategy this time? Who do I go to who’s organizing against him? Today is a feel good day. GOOD for Wendy Davis. I’m proud of her and I’m SO very proud of the women and men who stood and cheered her in Austin. But what next? I can assure you they met late into the night and will be at it again at first light, plotting to stop us. So what can I DO?

  5. wishful thinking. texas red was texas blue forever. nothing has changed. red, blue, it’s always been “white” hateful, meanspirited, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and just plain misanthropic. oh and compassionate conservative christians.

  6. Good ol’ Gov. Perry has called a special session again @ taxpayer’s expense. Whatever it takes to keep his religious sugar daddies happy. I strongly suspect that the rich and powerful forces behind “pro-life” do not want abortion to be completely eliminated from women’s reproductive healthcare options. That would deprive their real agenda of a convenient distraction. Am I a dangerous person, or what?

  7. Long wars are not won by individual battles. The changing demographics of Texas mean that change is inevitable, no matter what reverses along the way. It may take a decade, but the old is going to be swept away….

  8. We need to start today putting pressure locally on legislators to see if we can scare at least some Republicans into voting NO on those bills. Also, I hope all involved have sent campaign contributions to our heroes. They will be attacked locally and we must be there for them!

  9. If we can just get Texas out of last place in citizen participation in public affairs, we can get closer to democratic and Democratic government.

  10. Various state leaders (?) of dubious loyalty to the United States throw out the phrase “We need to take our country back” whenever they open their mouths. Here is a new flash for them: On Tuesday night we started to do just that. If it comes up again in the second special session, I hope Wendy has another pair of comfortable shoes and is willing to return to the frey. Now we have to take up Voter ID laws and legalization of gay marriage with the same kind of vigor.

  11. Wendy for GOVERNOR!

    Our victory means nothing because the religious wrong will have the governor’s (lower case deliberate) six. The new “special session” is for one reason and one reason only, to reverse our Victory.

    When in the course of human events (original, huh?) so-called representatives do NOT represent the majority of their constituents, they should be prevented from attending ANY discussion of laws.

    If I had my way, I would BLOCK any Republican from attending any session of the special sessions ricky perry calls for the purpose of overriding the will of the people.

    The minority of the citizens of this State want to give a religious finger to the rest of us. I’m 72, abortion is a moot situation for me, but other women, when the have the need for a LEGAL ABORTION, then they should not be restricted by religious freaks.

    When will the religious wrong learn that they are diminishing primarily because of their anti human stance? I give them a few more years before they’ll be history, I hope.