Protests mark return of Texas Legislature to consider abortion bill

July 1, 2013 at 6:21 PM

AUSTIN, Texas, July 1 (UPI) -- The Texas Legislature reconvened in a special session Monday to reconsider an abortion bill Senate Republicans failed to pass last week.

Thousands of orange-clad, pro-choice supporters packed the south lawn of the Capitol in Austin to condemn Republican-sponsored legislation that would make obtaining abortions in the state more difficult, the Austin Statesman-American reported.

Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat who helped derail the bill in a special session that included her 13-hour filibuster, addressed the crowd, saying, "You have given me and so many others a renewed sense of strength."

State Rep. Joe Deshotel, another Democrat, told the audience Gov. Rick Perry awoke a sleeping giant when he called the special session.

"Keep it up. We're going to take back Texas," he said.

Perry said Monday he thinks the controversial bill, which calls for restrictions on abortions after 20 weeks and calls for clinics to meet more stringent guidelines, will pass this time, KXAN-TV, Austin, reported.

Last week, Davis maintained a filibuster aimed at keeping the Senate from voting before the session's midnight deadline. After she was ruled "off topic," Democrats stalled for time with procedural tactics. With the chamber echoing with the raucous shouting of opponents who filled the gallery, the measure's proponents failed to push the vote through in time.

"I underestimated how difficult it would be, both physically and mentally," Davis later told CNN.

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