Gov. Rick Perry is blaming an unruly "mob" and a senator's filibuster for killing a bill this week that would have further restricted Texas abortions.
The governor found a receptive audience for his message Thursday at the National Right to Life Convention in Dallas.
No matter where they came from in the country -- Tennessee, North Carolina or Florida -- the right-to-life conventioneers knew all about the protest and filibuster that kept Texas from becoming the latest state to pass a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
“It’s huge news, we knew it was coming about,” said Rochelle Focaracci.
She followed the Tuesday night filibuster as she drove to the convention from Atlanta. She said she feared all along that the pro-choice protesters gathered in the Senate gallery were going to explode.
“We knew it was going to happen, then when it happened it was shocking,” she said. “They really had an angry picture on their faces.”
Kyleen Wright, president of the Texans for Life Coalition, says she was in the Senate gallery when hundreds opposed to abortion restrictions cut loose. She says she was afraid of being physically harmed because she was wearing a shirt that identified her as a right-to-life supporter.
“It was a scary mob in many respects,” said Wright. “We hid in locked rooms in the basement for a while until there were enough troopers to take us out,” she said.
Gov. Rick Perry said the protesters, whose loud chants and cries disrupted Senate business, were the reason he’s calling another special session to pass the stricter abortion measures.
“What we witnessed Tuesday was no more than the hijacking of the democratic process,” said Perry.
“This is simply too important a cause to allow the unruly actions of a few to stand in its way,” he said.
The Governor also took a swipe at Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth who filibustered the abortion bill. Perry said it’s “unfortunate she didn’t learn from her own experience” as a single, teenage mother that even children in difficult circumstances deserve a chance to succeed.
“I’m proud she has been able to take advantage of her intellect and her hard work, but she didn’t come from particularly good circumstances. What if her mother had said I just can’t do this? I don’t want to do this?” Perry asked.
Sen. Davis responded to the Governor saying, “his statement is without dignity and tarnishes the high office he holds.”
In a Wednesday interview with KERA she left open the possibility that she’ll run for governor next year, saying she’s becoming “more and more fed up” with Perry.
But at the conference Perry was unwilling to say whether he will run for a fourth consecutive term.
He says he’ll delay his announcement until lawmakers tackle abortion, transportation and criminal sentencing issues in the 30-day session that begins Monday.
While appearing confident the 20-week abortion ban will pass this time Perry seemed to take the crowd of Tuesday protesters seriously.
“Take your phone out,” he instructed the crowd.
“I want you to text in the word “life,” he said as he gave them a contact number for his office.
Perry said he’s rounding up support from right-to-life activists who will need to meet the opposition’s intensity.