Hundreds Of Texans Delay Vote On Strict Anti-Abortion Bill With 10-Hour Long Citizen Filibuster

Texas Republicans are currently in the process of trying to passA�House Bill 60 (HB 60), which would place a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, among other measures.

TheA�House State Affairs Committee was scheduled to take a vote on HB 60 last night, but it was met with something the Republicans did not expect: a 10-hour long citizen filibuster by hundreds of Texans.

One by one, speakers opposed to the bill testified against it, starting around 4:45 PM. Their emotional testimonies lasted almost ten hours, ending with the committee adjourning without voting on HB 60.

PCCC web developer Laura Davila was one of those speakers who testified against the bill.A�”This was the first time I ever attended a political event like this, and I couldn’t have been more proud to be there. A�I went out last night to show solidarity with the pro-choice movement, but also to testify against the bill which our Lt Governor confirmed would ultimately shut down so many clinics in TX,” said Davilla about the testimonies last night. “Sure, constitutionally women would still have a right to get an abortion until 20 weeks after conception, but it would take hours of time to even reach a facility for many Texans, and as one man said in his testimony last night, the disadvantage this would have on women in west Texas, rural areas, the Panhandle, and the border is no different than the limitations Jim Crow laws had on the right to vote for African Americans.”

Davilla snapped these pictures at around 12:30 AM, when the testimonies were almost stopped because lawmakers claimed they were “redundant”:

 

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Hundreds of Texans packed into the room to protest HB60.

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Texas lawmakers opposed to HB60 assuring the crowd they will be allowed to continue to testify.

As lawmakers tried to shut down testimony, the crowd erupted into chants of “Let her speak!” Eventually the testimonies were resumed. An attendee captured these chants on video:

One of the others who testified was Kristian Caballero. Working as a paralegal in Austin, Texas, she wanted to speak up out of principle, even if she didn’t feel personally affected.A�”I don’t relate to it on a personal level, I don’t know what it is to be pregnant or have an abortion, I’ve never been in that position before, but it was mostly on principle,” she told The Daily Change. “Just the general idea being put out there that these representatives think they have the authority to try to define and dictate someone’s free will or choice is really an abuse of power and beyond their scope of what their duties really are. Out of principle I believe the duties of our representatives are to protect and preserve our rights, and part of those rights are our free will and choice.”

Caballero noted that technology, like a Facebook group, helped drive people to the event to testify against the bill.A�”It was grassroots work, bu a lot of it was also done through social media, which I feel that nowadays with the use of technology that’s been the most impactful and accessible for a lot of people.

She also noted that “it was definitely a very diverse group” testifying against the legislation. “The majority, of course, was predominantly women, A�but from every age, every race, every social economic background,” she concluded, adding that there were also numerous men who joined them in solidarity.

“Free will and choice are not for you to define or dictate on others’ behalf. To do so is an abuse of power and beyond the scope of your duties. Free will and choice are for each individual to define and dictate for themselves, so that they…A�may face their own destiny and take full responsibility for their own person. Your duty is to simply preserve and protect our right to free will and choice; not oppress it,” Caballero said in her testimony to the lawmakers.

HB 60 and its companion Senate bill are expected to both be considered today and over the weekend, as opponents continue to mobilize to defeat them.