After Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis' 11-hour filibuster helped defeat a controversial anti-abortion bill aimed at severely cutting access to abortion services across Texas, even her Republican colleagues had to express their admiration.
"Quite a few very respectfully told me that they thought I did an incredible job, that they admired what it takes to do something like that," Davis told The Huffington Post in an interview Sunday. "They understand the stress and the pressure that I was under, not only because of what the physical demands of that are, but also the mental demands of it ... I appreciated the comments afterward."
Davis' emotional testimony appeared to gradually galvanize supporters in the state and across the country, hour by hour. Her supporters filled the state Capitol's gallery, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in hallways and lining up down the steps outside.
Roughly 157,000 flocked to the Texas Tribune's stream of the proceedings on YouTube to watch as chants of "Wendy!" from the gallery helped successfully prevent a vote by the midnight deadline. At its peak, the Tribune's livestream hit some 183,000 viewers. Davis says the waves of clapping and chants surprised even her. Was it planned? "My goodness, no," she says. "You can't plan something like this."
"Ultimately at the end when the microphones of Democratic senators were shut off as we were trying to hold the floor, which we rightfully should have been able to do, I think it was just this organic response," she says. "It wasn't anything but democracy."
Gov. Rick Perry (R) has called for a second special session to pass the abortion bill. The session begins July 1 at 2 p.m. and could last a month. Although the bill is expected to pass in the Republican-dominated legislature, Davis says it is not a done deal -- after all, now all of Texa