On Tuesday, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) launched a successful 13-hour filibuster to block an omnibus abortion bill that would have criminalized abortion after 20 weeks and forced all but five of the state’s abortion clinics to close. The measure sparked a grassroots movement, as women’s health advocates camped out in the capitol building and filled up the chamber gallery to support Davis’ effort defeat the legislation.
But that didn’t sit so well with CNN’s morning host Chris Cuomo. After the network’s new morning show, New Day, covered the story, the anchor sought to dismiss the filibuster as a waste of time:
KATE BOLDUAN (CO-HOST): This fight clearly not over yet…
CUOMO: All that energy to avoid the vote. Why not spend the time trying to compromise and figure out the bill in the first place?
BOLDUAN: Well, and they can just bring bring it back up in another special session.
CUOMO: Odd politics at work.
The bill, SB 5, actually combines separate provisions that failed to advance during Texas’ regular session. Democratic lawmakers stuck together to block every single anti-abortion bill proposed in Texas this year before it reached the House or Senate floor, but Gov. Rick Perry (R) convened a special session at the beginning of the month to push through the legislation and Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst (R) even amended some of the rules to allow lawmakers to more easily pass it.
But in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Republicans conceded that their vote to end Davis’ 13-hour filibuster on the legislation didn’t make the midnight deadline, when Texas’ special session officially concluded.
Chris Cuomo sent in the following statement to ThinkProgress clarifying his remarks:
I did not mean to minimize the effort or point of Wendy Davis’ filibuster.
My intention was to suggest the issue of reproductive rights should not be reduced to a political power play, certainly not one that forced Davis and her colleagues to filibuster in order to halt a vote.
The issue deserves full and thoughtful treatment by our lawmakers.
I was short on time and long on intentions. I wish I said this more clearly – and had more time to do so.