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Mass confusion in Texas over Senate vote on abortion bill

Texas in a frenzy as it remains unclear whether a controversial abortion bill has been passed despite a marathon filibuster by Senator Wendy Davis.

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Anti-abortion protesters attend the March for Life on January 25, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Brendan Hoffman/AFP/Getty Images)

Texas State Senator Wendy Davis may have successfully performed her 13-hour-long filibuster against a new abortion bill that would make her state among the toughest in the nation on the controversial issue — but chaos reigns tonight in the Texas legislature, as lawmakers debate over whether Senate Bill 5 (SB5) actually passed. 

An objection to Davis' filibuster was sustained at around 10 PM, per the New York Times, and legislators voted on the bill achingly close to the midnight deadline. Lieutenant Governor of Texas David Dewhurst maintained that voting began just before 12 AM; Democrats and other witnesses say it was already a couple of minutes past.

Details remain sketchy: as of a few minutes ago, Austin American-Statesman reporter Mike Ward tweeted that the Senate had "just ordered senators back for a caucus to determine whether they pass SB5." Results of the caucus should be official very soon. 

Media sources continue to go back and forth as to whether the bill has passed or not. A final call on the bill's passing likely won't be apparant for hours yet, and it's entirely possible that legal challenges could drag the debate out even further. 

Meanwhile, opponents of the bill and hecklers alike crowded the Texas government chambers. Protesters appear to still be attempting to stage a sit-in at the Capitol rotunda, according to the Dallas Morning News, while Davis appeared to address her supporters past the midnight deadline for the vote. 

“Today was democracy in action and as my colleague Sen. West said a minute ago, today was the example of government for the people, by the people and of the people,” Davis said, per the Dallas Morning News report.

“And you all are the reason that happened, you all were the voices we were speaking from today from the floor, and we are so proud as a group of Democrat senators to have represented your interests on this issue today.”

Why is Senate Bill 5 so controversial? The bill would ban all abortions in Texas past 20 weeks, and due to a set of stringent requirements for healthcare providers, would close all but five abortion clinics in the state of over 26 million people. 

Social media is proving to be the real battleground for the controversy over the Davis filbuster and the SB5 abortion bill. Both the #standwithwendy hashtag and the #texaslege variant have gone viral and remain so at the time of writing. Here's a Storify rundown of reactions.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/130626/mass-confusion-texas-over-senate-vote-abortion-b