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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Live Video of Texas Lawmakers Debating Abortion Bill

Two weeks after State Senator Wendy Davis of Texas rocketed to national attention for blocking passage of a bill restricting abortion rights, state lawmakers returned to Austin this week and resumed debate on the bill that is scheduled for a House vote on Tuesday night.

As The Texas Tribune reports, the Republican-controlled Texas House of Representatives is expected to approve the bill, which sailed out of committee after thousands of people registered their positions and more than 500 people testified until 1:45 a.m. on Tuesday.

The measure would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and impose new regulations on clinics that supporters of abortion rights say would lead to the shutdown of multiple clinics and restrict access.

Although Ms. Davis, a Democrat from Fort Worth, successfully blocked the bill with an 11-hour filibuster as people from across the country rallied online and in the Senate gallery, the victory is very likely to be short-lived.

The bill is expected to also win approval in the Republican-controlled Senate later this week, then signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican whoannounced on Monday that he would not seek re-election.

Leading up to Tuesday’s vote in the House of Representatives, both sides of the debate descended on the state capital this week with supporters of the bill dressed mostly in blue and opponents dressed in orange. Some supporters carried baby shoes while opponents of the legislation waved wire coat hangers, including Democratic lawmakers.

Before dawn on Tuesday, supporters of the bill were already on the Capitol’s steps.

Also on Tuesday, Democrats announced a statewide bus tour with Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, with the goal of getting their message out about the impact of the Republican votes and agenda on women’s health care services across the state.

Ms. Davis posted a photo on Twitter of her speaking to opponents of the bill outside the Capitol.

Online, the debates and pleas for support on the issue continued.