In today's guest post, American-born, UK-based film critic and journalist Karen Krizanovich reflects on the achievements of a remarkable woman - "a Democrat pointed to the future".
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'As an American woman who has needed the services Texas state senator Wendy Davis was fighting to retain - and on behalf of all the women who will still be able to access safe and legal abortion if they need it - I'd like to say thank you, Senator, for fighting and winning this battle.
Americans love freedom. Freedom is one of their favourite subjects - and yet, as Sen. Davis' filibuster last night reminded us, in the Land Of The Free, abortion has always been a struggle. And they say Americans can't do irony.
Texas is a Republican state, and its political system is notorious for back-room deals and vested interest. In a senate packed with old money patriarchs, Sen. Wendy Davis is a Democrat pointed to the future.
Raised by a single mother and working from the age of 14, Davis is no stranger to 'normal' life as it is lived. Pregnant at 19, she raised her first daughter in what was effectively a caravan park. Spurred by a fierce determination to improve her lot and by a powerful belief in justice, she graduated first in her community college class, and went on to study law at Harvard.
Last night, in a tradition dating back to Ancient Greece, Davis got on her feet in the Texas state senate, and held the floor for almost 11 hours in order to stymie an anti-abortion vote. Without leaning, eating, drinking or a loo break (the rules) Davis stayed on her feet - only to have pandemonium erupt over whether she'd done it right, long enough, or legally.
Finally, in the wee hours, it was confirmed that Davis had indeed stood the test of time to deny the passing of SB5, the Omnibus Abortion Bill, which would have effectively closed 80% of currently operating abortion clinics in the state with the second highest population in the US.
The Twitterverse exploded, taking her followers from a modest 1200 to a global-icon-level 60,000. Her final tweet from @WendyDavisTexas: "Thanks to the powerful voices of thousands of Texans, #SB5 is dead. An incredible victory for Texas women and those who love them."
There speaks not only a true American, but also a woman who understands that freedom in America is a tricky thing indeed.
Yes, women in the most powerful country in the world are still battling for this basic freedom. I remember a bumper sticker I saw on a car back home which read, "Against abortion? Don't have one." The year was 1973 - and yet here we are again.'
Karen Krizanovich can be found over here - do check out her blog.
So so glad there are amazing women in the world like her to stand up for those who don't have/can't use/are still too afraid to have a voice. Remarkable achievement, well done. I don't have twitter but if I did, I would def follow her!
I'm amazed by her strength and so happy that this story is going viral. But for all that I'm thrilled for the sake of women everywhere at she was successful, I'm baffled by a legal system where new legislation can be blocked by someone just standing up for hours.
Can anyone explain the logic/history to me please?
Thank you for highlighting this, Mumsnet, and thank you Karen for such a great blog post.
When the dust clears, it would be great to have her on for a webchat. She sounds like she would be a very interesting guest - would love to know how it was for her to come from such humble beginnings and stand toe to toe with the old money patriarchs. And win.
I think I'm still in shock that one person, one woman, stood up and was counted. It's so rare - can't think of a recent example - where someone stood (literally too!) up to an establishment and then won. She's utterly amazing.