Texas senator's filibuster heats up the Internet

Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis' filibuster against an abortion bill kept people glued to YouTube and Twitter on Tuesday.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Texas State Senator Wendy Davis.
Texas State Senator Wendy Davis wendydavisforsenate.com

YouTube and Twitter provided blow-by-blow coverage of a long, heated filibuster Tuesday in Texas that the major cable networks failed to carry.

State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) held the Texas Senate floor Tuesday in a filibuster and session that lasted almost 13 hours, the Texas Tribune reported Wednesday.

Davis was trying to prevent passage of Senate Bill 5, a controversial bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It would also have required doctors to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of an abortion facility, perform abortions in ambulatory surgical centers, and administer drugs that induce abortion in person, according to the Tribune. The bill's ambulatory-surgical-center requirement would have effectively shut down the vast majority of abortion clinics in Texas.

Full coverage of the lengthy filibuster wasn't offered by the major networks, leaving the Internet to carry the load.

A live stream of the session on YouTube hosted by the Texas Tribune captured more than 180,000 viewers late Tuesday night. Twitter users posted 730,000 total tweets about the filibuster on Tuesday, according to Twitter, many using such hashtags as #StandWithWendy, #SB5, and #TXLege. The number of tweets reached their peek at 5,776 per minute just a couple of minutes before the bill's midnight deadline, CNN said.

Republicans were finally able to quash the filibuster, bringing the bill up for vote. The final vote seemed to be unclear at first, with some reports saying the bill was approved. However, the Tribune reported Wednesday that the bill was actually defeated.