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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Video and Images From Debate Over Abortion Bill in Texas

Updated | Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. 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.

As my colleague, John Schwartz, reported, the Republican-controlled Texas House of Representatives gave provisional approval of the bill on Tuesday night. It sailed out of committee after thousands of people registered their positions on both sides of the debate and more than 500 people testified until 1:45 a.m. on Tuesday. The final House vote is expected Wednesday and then the Senate will take it up later this week.

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 a 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, supporters of the bill gathered in Austin, dressed mostly in blue as opponents showed up wearing mostly orange. Some supporters of the legislation carried baby shoes while opponents waved wire coat hangers, including Democratic lawmakers.

Before dawn on Tuesday, supporters of the bill were already on the Capitol's steps, and later singing in the rotunda.

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.