The final hours of the session were marked by confusing parliamentary maneuvers until Sen. Leticia Van de Putte stepped to the microphone, ending the debate.
"At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?" the Democratic senator asked after she had been ignored.
At 15 minutes before midnight, the gallery erupted in applause and chants of "Wendy! Wendy! Wendy!"
As the session ended, Davis waded into the crowd of supporters and praised them as "the people who truly made this happen."
Texas Right to Life blamed "the angry mob of protesters in the Senate gallery" for the failure of the bill to pass.
"Ultimately, we should be encouraged that we had the votes and that so many came to support the bill," the anti-abortion group said on its website. "We will continue to work to pass Pro-Life legislation that protects women and saves lives in Texas."
The last stand
Davis' stand captivated abortion rights advocates from coast to coast, prompting the hashtag #standwithwendy on Twitter.
The White House took notice.
"Something special is happening in Austin tonight," said a post on President Barack Obama's official Twitter account. The account is run by Organizing for Action, a nonprofit group established to support the president's legislative agenda.
A post by Aimee Parker of Los Angeles said: "I'm in absolute awe of you, @WendyDavisTexas. Thank you for your passion, perseverance and unparalleled badassery."
English comedian Ricky Gervais weighed in as well.
"Whatever the outcome, @WendyDavisTexas efforts entered her into the pantheon of American heroes tonight."
Heady times for Davis, who was first elected to the Texas Senate in 2008, defeating a longtime Republican incumbent to do so.
Last year, she staged a filibuster to force a special session in an attempt to stop $5 billion in cuts to Texas public schools, according to her website.
Davis, who became a single mother at age 19, went on to graduate with honors from Harvard Law School, it says.
Her filibuster was no record. In 1977, Sen. Bill Meier staged a 43-hour marathon.
The special session ends with irony, Twitter user Cody Beckner said, echoing the governor's own words.
"'In Texas, we value all life,' Gov. Perry TX. Said on the eve of the state's 500th execution."