In late June 2013, thousands of women in Texas took to the streets–and the Senate chambers–as politicians debated Senate Bill 5, dealing with women’s reproductive rights. As Wendy Davis, a Democratic Senator from Fort Worth, engaged in a marathon filibuster on June 25, in efforts to prevent a vote, masses rallied alongside her and have inspired a renewed sense of motivation among the population.
One of the Nobel Women’s Initiative’s own supporters, Nancy Word, is among the Texas women raising her voice and engaging in the political process.
Nancy was in the Texas Capitol into the early hours of the morning to ‘Stand with Wendy.’ Nancy explains “I had the great pleasure to join hundreds and then thousands of people at the Texas Capitol to stand up for the women of my state.”
Although the bill has generated a lot of debate around the abortion issue among women on both sides of the aisle, Nancy explains that “the giants have been awakened and they are being heard. People are understanding that they have a voice and they need to use it.”
Nancy sees the events that unfolded in the Texas Capitol as “democracy at its finest…People came together that night to stand up for their beliefs. They were old, young, female, male, disabled – a true representation of our rich culture in this state.”
Despite the bill–which limits abortion services to a small number of providers–being passed, this is only the beginning of a new movement of women’s mobilization in the United States. Nancy has been concerned about the low voter turnout among women both in Texas and the country at large. Women account for 53 per cent of the eligible voters in Texas. For Nancy, this means “We can have more influence but we have to exercise our power and vote. We live in a democracy – we need to embrace that and participate in it. We can no longer sit back and say our vote does not make a difference – we have to admit that our lack of voting makes a huge difference.”
Wendy Davis: The Silver Lining to a Very Dark Cloud, Huffington Post, July 12, 2013
Abortion Rights Under Fire: Why Wendy Davis’ Filibuster Matters, Rolling Stones, June 26, 2013