Abortion activists are expected to be front and center as the battle over abortion restrictions resumes in Austin today.
Gov. Perry has called lawmakers back for another 30-day session to pass restrictions that were derailed last week by protesters and Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster.
It was the roar from hundreds of protesters in the gallery and hundreds more in the capitol’s rotunda that so disoriented Republican senators last Tuesday that they didn’t get the abortion bill signed before the midnight deadline.
Gov. Rick Perry called them an unruly mob.
“What we witnessed Tuesday was nothing more than the hijacking of the democratic process,” Perry said at the National Right to Life convention meeting in Grapevine Thursday.
But State Rep. Chris Turner, an Arlington Democrat, says the crowd was just reacting to the refusal of GOP leaders and the lieutenant governor to call on female Democratic senators.
“It demonstrates that when politicians overreach the people will stand up to make their voices heard and that’s what happened and that’s a good thing,” said Turner.
The state Democratic Party clearly thinks the activists are a powerful political weapon, which is why it’s blasting out emails urging pro-choice forces to show up on the steps of the capitol at noon today to make themselves heard again.
Gov. Perry is taking their people-power seriously.
He told activists at the right-to-life convention to take their phones out and text in the word life.
He said he wanted their contact information so he can rally their support.
“We have to match their intensity, but do it with grace and civility,” Perry said of the need to counter the pro-choice forces.
If the same restrictions are in the next bill it will call for a ban on most abortions after 20-weeks of pregnancy; a requirement that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals; and clinics allowing abortions meet new certification standards.
Pro-choice groups have said the measures are so strict most of the abortion providers in Texas would have to close their doors.
Sen. Wendy Davis, the Fort Worth Democrat who filibustered the last bill to a point where it could be killed, admits doing that again is very unlikely.
“I think they’ll be smarter about their time management this time,” said Davis adding, “I think they’re going to cram this thing down the throats of Texans.”
Though the Republicans have the votes to pass the abortion bill Davis and many other pro-choice Democrats say they’re going to fight every step of the way.