Hundreds of Texans protesting a massive anti-abortion bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks and shutter all but five abortion clinics in the state refused to leave yesterday's House Committee hearing until 3:40 a.m. this morning, despite the chairman's pathetic protests that their testimony was "repetitive." The nearly 800 opponents successfully delayed the vote.
The bill, HB60, was added into the House's special session calendar at the last second by Rick Perry, who is technically Governor but might as well be called Man Who Does Basically Nothing But Devise Ways to Fuck Women Over (and Occasionally Champions for Christmas).
Planned Parenthood, Texas NARAL and the Texas Democratic Party asked people to come out to help stall the omnibus bill so that Senate Democrats could stage an official filibuster in the Senate when the session ends on Tuesday night. Hundreds of protesters launched a "citizen filibuster," and it was awesome — you can read testimony and tweets from some of the people who were there.
The hearing started at around 4:45 p.m. and continued without a break until midnight, when House State Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Byron Cook said he was bored (and, of course, didn't want to stall the vote any further).
"The testimony has been impassioned, but it has become repetitive, so I am going to only allow another hour of testimony on this bill," he said, according to the AP.
The 200 women in the hearing room and 100+ waiting outside were all, hell no, and took over the hearing while he "retreated into a back room" like the weasel he is. #HB60 started trending worldwide on Twitter. Supporters sent pizza and drinks. The hearing finally closed at 3:40 a.m. after NO VOTING and more than 10 hours of testimony from women like Michelle Benavides, who has bi-polar disorder and once had an abortion because she couldn't have a baby without going off her medication.
"I don't feel any regret and I don't feel guilt," she told the AP. "The fact that this bill makes no provisions for mental health is wrong. ... Mental illness kills pregnant women when they commit suicide."