Post SB 5 Debate, No Word From Perry

Governor silent so far after abortion bill fails

Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth: Giving Rick Perry headaches right now
Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth: Giving Rick Perry headaches right now
Photo by Jana Birchum

As the national press scurries to catch up with the astonishing filibuster of Senate Bill 5, local Democrats and reproductive rights activists know one thing. It ain't over as long as there's the threat of another special session. And, so far, the one man who can say anything about that has been silent.

This whole mess began because Perry made a late call to add abortion to the call for the first special session, which ended at midnight. Specials are at the whim of Gov. Rick Perry, who has been suspiciously AWOL throughout the entire process. No press statement, no relevant Tweets on either @TexGov or @GovernorPerry, and he was absent from the Legislature during the whole sordid process.

The political calculations are immense. Perry will face immense and immediate calls from his own team to get this back on the agenda as fast as possible. Yesterday afternoon, during the mid-filibuster "pink and blue paper" stunt, Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, told the Chronicle that the House GOP was already drafting a letter demanding that Perry call another special if the bill went down. This morning, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst made his opinion clear when he Tweeted "pledge to Texas one thing: this fight is far from over. #txlege #sb5"

One big factor, as Wayne Slater at the Dallas Morning News pointed out, is that the National Right to Life Convention starts in Dallas tomorrow. Perry is not on their list of speakers (Dewhurst, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and Sen. Ted Cruz are) but he's never been able to resist a stage for grandstanding.

But there's another side to this. Last night, Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, became a national figure, the Texas GOP abortion position became a national issue, and the willingness of the Republican party to abuse the process to get what they want, yet still not get it, was national debate. If you're a Republican in, say, Florida or California, wouldn't you want this to go away fast?

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