Controversial Texas Abortion Measure Defeated Despite GOP’s Attempt To Lie And Cheat


In less than three hours of the vote on Texas’ controversial abortion measure, there was a petition on the White House’s “We the People” petition site, asking that President Obama overrule its passage due to procedural issues, specifically, the explosive controversy over whether the vote was taken before or after midnight CDT.

At 2:15 a.m. CDT, the petition had over 12,000 signatures. The petition’s creator, a Republican, said,

“Look, I’m a Republican, but it DOES NOT MATTER what your party is–or if you agree to SB5. Tonight, we the people, watched. Millions of us WATCHED, as Texas Legislation was held up by a filibuster.

The filibuster was traditional, but effective. The filibuster pushed the vote past midnight, yet it was ignored and we watched as a loophole was leveraged and excuses were made.”

A big part of the issue is a couple of different pictures making the rounds of Twitter that apparently show the timestamp on the vote being changed. The original picture shows the timestamp as June 26, and the amended sheet shows it having been changed to June 25. Obviously, a date of June 26 would show that the vote was taken after midnight and is therefore invalid.

Texas stamp sheet@TXSenateClock

Texas stamp sheet@TXSenateClock

One such image is a computer image that the CEO and editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune, Evan Smith, posted to Twitter, saying that the two images were nine minutes apart. Another image, posted by @TXSenateClock (yes, within minutes of the “vote,” the Texas Senate’s clock had its own Twitter account), shows a printout with the same changes.

Online time stamp@EvanASmith

Online time stamp@EvanASmith

Both of these images also appear on the Texas Tribune‘s live blog, which has a quote from Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston), saying that the timestamp was very clearly 12:02 a.m., two minutes after the special session legally ended.

Mike Ward, reporter and blogger for the Austin American-Statesman, tweeted around 1:45 a.m. that the Senate was in a closed-door caucus trying to decide whether SB5 passed. He was tweeting furiously from the Texas Senate during the evening, particularly once the session devolved into chaos before midnight, after Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster was all but torpedoed on rules violations. According to the rules, she was allowed three warnings; she received two for ostensibly going off-topic and another warning for putting on a back brace. The rules, according to CNN, say that she was required to stand without leaning on anything and without a bathroom break. She wouldn’t yield the floor to answer questions.

She’s being hailed all over the Internet as a hero for women’s rights, despite the uncertainty surrounding the fate of the bill. The hashtag #standwithwendy was popular on tweets discussing her filibuster, and many were thanking her for her efforts and the lengths she went to to protect women’s right to choose.

The Senate emerged from their closed-door caucus just before 3 a.m. CDT, saying, according to Mike Ward, that while the vote took place, it concluded after midnight, and is therefore invalid. SB5 failed, as proven by the timestamp.

It’s important to note that should it have passed, the White House could not have interfered with it because it’s a state government’s business. So despite the petition being retweeted people like Mark Ruffalo, who played Bruce Banner and The Hulk in Marvel’s Avengers, and the number of signatures rising very quickly (over 16,000 at 2:45 a.m.), it would likely have gone to the courts.

Mark Ruffola retween SB5

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