Politics & Government

Five years ago, she stood in the Texas Capitol and talked for more than 11 hours. Now, what's next?

Former state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, on Thursday will attend a celebration of the 5th anniversary of the filibuster she gave to prevent a bill putting more restrictions on abortion from passing. The bill died that night but soon passed in a special legislative session.
Former state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, on Thursday will attend a celebration of the 5th anniversary of the filibuster she gave to prevent a bill putting more restrictions on abortion from passing. The bill died that night but soon passed in a special legislative session.

It has been five years since Wendy Davis stood on the Texas Senate floor for more than 11 hours, capturing the attention of countless across the state and nation as she talked to prevent a bill creating new restrictions against abortion from becoming law.

She was successful that night, but the bill soon became law in a special session.

Nevertheless, a celebration of the anniversary of that filibuster is planned Thursday in Fort Worth, the place where Davis began her political career on the City Council.

"A Celebration of the 5th anniversary of the people's filibuster & a look at the road ahead" is how the 8 p.m. event at the 4Eleven in Fort Worth is billed. "Learn what you can do to keep the fight for reproductive choice and access going."

"Expect music, drinks, special guests," the invitation states. "Pink sneakers optional."

This comes as thousands of Democrats are in town for their biennial state convention at the Fort Worth Convention Center. The convention wraps up Saturday.

Davis, a former Fort Worth city councilwoman, drew national attention for her June 25, 2013, filibuster at the Texas Capitol against new abortion restrictions.

After the filibuster ended, supporters disrupted Senate proceedings — with catcalls, cheers and chants from the public gallery above the Senate floor — and prevented senators from voting on the bill before midnight.

Then-Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called protesters an "unruly mob." Davis called it the "people's filibuster."

The abortion restriction bill soon passed in a special session; Davis catapulted from the Texas Senate into a race to become the next governor of Texas against Republican Greg Abbott, then the state’s attorney general.

She lost by more than 20 percentage points, or nearly 1 million votes.

She since has moved to Austin and launched a new initiative, Deeds Not Words, to help young women make a difference in their communities.

“Five years ago, people across the state and the country demonstrated what we can achieve when we own the power of our voices,” said Davis, who will speak at the event. “The fight for women’s reproductive freedoms and equality is far from over, which is why we at Deeds Not Words are teaching the next generation how to effectively fight back.”

A movie, "Let Her Speak," is being made about the filibuster. Actress Sandra Bullock will star in the film.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley
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