Texas Lawmakers Return for Abortion Battle, Take 2

Second special session begins today
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2013 7:02 AM CDT
Texas Lawmakers Return for Abortion Battle, Take 2
In this June 25, 2013, file photo, Sen. Wendy Davis, center, holds up two fingers to signal a "No" vote as the session where she tried to filibuster an abortion bill draws to a close in Austin, Texas.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Less than a week after Wendy Davis filibustered the Texas bill that would shutter most of the state's abortion clinics, state lawmakers have returned to the Capitol to take up the bill again. The first time around, the bill failed on the last day of a special legislative session; Gov. Rick Perry called for a second special session to start today, and Republicans are vowing to get the job done faster this time. The process must start over entirely, the AP reports, but as long as supporters of the bill can hustle a bit, there likely won't be a repeat of Davis' feat because it will come to a final vote while there's still too much time left in the session for a filibuster. ("No human being can talk for two weeks," Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Saturday, according to the Dallas Morning News.)

Davis was also helped along by hundreds of protesters who cheered until the clock ran out, and opponents of the bill are planning to mobilize again. But this time around, there may be "more presence by law enforcement" to ensure that doesn't happen again, says one Republican state senator. The state troopers wouldn't comment on specific plans, but a spokesperson acknowledged that "when necessary, we will adjust our security measures as a situation merits." The legislation has already been resubmitted, the Los Angeles Times reports. The session begins at 2pm, and the bill could come up in committee as soon as tomorrow. But it may not come up for a vote this week, if lawmakers break for the holiday. The session can last up to 30 days, but "we should be out of here in 10 days to two weeks," predicted one Republican state senator. Meanwhile, Davis appeared on three talk shows yesterday, blasting Republicans and warning them that "the eyes of the country are watching." (Read more Wendy Davis stories.)

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