Texas State Senator Wendy Davis is talking up a storm.
The Ft. Worth Democrat, who came appropriately attired in tennis shoes, is planning to talk on the floor of the Senate for more than 13 hours straight, without any kind of break.
Davis hopes that she will block Senate passage of a bill that would severely restrict abortions. The Republican controlled Senate has the votes to pass the measure, but if Davis can deny Republicans the floor until midnight tonight, the Special Session will expire and the bill will die.
Davis must remain standing throughout the filibuster, she is not even allowed to lean on her desk. She must talk only about Senate Bill 5, which is the combination of three measures to restrict access to abortion, and she cannot take any kind of a break, even to go to the bathroom.
The abortion bills in question would require abortion clinics to have a physician on duty who has admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles from the clinic. It would also require abortion clinics to be registered as ambulatory surgical centers, and it would ban all abortions after twenty weeks gestation, on the argument that after that, a fetus in the womb can feel pain.
If the Special Session ends without the bill being approved, there is widespread speculation that Gov. Perry will call a second special session to deal with the issue.
But the defeat of the abortion restrictions in the Special Session, after they were defeated in the regular session, would be an embarrassment for evangelical conservative lawmakers, many of whom were sent to Austin by their constituents specifically to restrict access to abortion.