AUSTIN, TX, July 10, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life activists from around the country are flooding the Texas capitol in support of two bills, SB1 and HB2, which supporters hope will shut down most abortion facilities in the state.
The bills were reintroduced last week in a special session of the Texas legislature, which was assembled at the request of Gov. Rick Perry after Sen. Wendy Davis killed it in an 11-hour filibuster two weeks ago.
The legislation would ban abortions after 20 weeks, with exceptions for when a pregnant mother is at “risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”
The bills also contain abortion industry regulations, such as the requirement that abortionists must have local hospital privileges.
Alexa Coombs, Director of External Relations for Students for Life of America (SFLA), told LifeSiteNews.com that her group has sent a busload of students to Texas for the debate. They arrived in Austin on Monday after a 30 hour ride that began in Washington D.C. Other students flew in from states like Iowa, New Mexico, and Oregon to back up their fellow pro-life Texans.
On Tuesday the students took SFLA’s Planned Parenthood Project to the Planned Parenthood bus launch rally outside the Texas Capitol, where they “exposed the truth about Planned Parenthood and their profit-driven abortion business,” said Coombs.
“Our 'Students #Stand4Life' bus pulled up next to [Planned Parenthood’s] and our students and supporters surrounded the rally with our 'I am the pro-life generation' signs for PP President Cecile Richards and Sen. Wendy Davis to see – they were not pleased!”
Adding to the student presence at the state capitol, Priests for Life Youth Outreach Department also sent three college-aged interns to the debate.
“We stand with Texas as they make advances against ‘big abortion’ and move towards ending the deadly industry,” said Bryan Kemper, Youth Outreach Director for Priests for Life.
On Monday, TLC Channel star Michelle Duggar also spoke at a rally alongside her husband and several of her children, Gov. Mike Huckabee, and numerous other local and national pro-life leaders. Mrs. Duggar called abortion the ‘baby holocaust’.
Adding his voice to the growing support for the bills is 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum. In a press release issued Tuesday, Santorum said he will be hosting a press conference in Austin on Thursday, stating, “I'm going to Texas on Thursday to do whatever I can to make sure this critical civil-rights issue can be debated and voted on without disruption.”
“This has become the most important pro-life battle in the country right now because leftist groups like Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the National Organization for Women are going all out in Texas,” said Santorum.
Aside from Rick Santorum and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s backing of the bills, the GOP has largely remained silent, even as President Obama, Harry Reid and other prominent Democrats have weighed in on the bill.
After Sen. Davis’s so-called “heroic” efforts to kill the bill in regular session with her 11-hour filibuster, many national media personalities and liberal politicians showered Davis with praise with more than a few political commentators wondering about Davis’ prospects for running for national office.
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However, the larger GOP body has so far shied from getting involved, and many conservative leaders are taking note.
Richard Viguerie’s Conservative HQ threw down the proverbial gantlet in a staff article published last week on the Texas bills stating, “It is time for the RNC and Chairman Reince Preibus to speak and work in favor of the Texas bill or risk losing the right-to-life vote to a new organization that will stand for the principles national Republicans say they support, but never seem to actually step-up to fight for.”
On Tuesday, Texas lawmakers rebuffed numerous attempts to weaken the bill via amendments. Among those failed amendments was a rape and incest exception to the 20-week abortion ban. It was tabled by a vote of 89-56.
The House passed the bill in a vote of 98-49. A final vote on the bill is expected by the end of the week.