Texas Republicans are moving forward with their second attempt at passing a new set of restrictive abortion laws, and appear poised to prevent Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis or any of the thousands of protesters and lawmakers who stand beside her, from stopping or delaying the legislation.
Since the special session began Monday—called by GOP Gov. Rick Perry specifically to address the abortion legislation—Republicans have made a handful of decisions indicating they plan to do everything in their power to stop Davis or any of her colleagues from blocking the bill again.
On Tuesday afternoon the House State Affairs Committee takes up the legislation up in a hearing that has limited the time allotted for debate so it may not continue on beyond midnight, a restriction set to help keep the legislation speedily moving through the statehouse. On Monday, the lieutenant governor suspended a rule that would require two-thirds of lawmakers in the Texas Senate to approve a bill before it can go up for a floor vote. He has vowed that he and fellow Republicans will “fight with every fiber that we have” to see the bill pass, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Lawmakers have 30 days in the special session to pass any legislation, and the further Democrats can successfully delay the bill, the greater chance they have of successfully filibustering it. By tweaking the rules to keep the bill moving swiftly, the Republicans decrease that likelihood.
House Bill 2 would ban most abortions after 20 weeks and create new tougher standards for clinics in the state that are expected to effectively shut down 37 of the state’s clinics, leaving only five. Advocates of the legislation told reporters Tuesday they are “looking forward to weeding out the bad actors” with the legislation, according to the Austin Statesman.
“We don’t understand why men cannot understand that we have rights of our own and they shouldn’t be trampled upon,” State Rep. Senfronia Thompson said on Monday’s PoliticsNation. ”We will not be bullied. Our constitutional rights will not be trampled upon, and we’re not going to take it sitting down.”
Republicans have argued that the Democrats’ attempts to shut down the legislation, aided by activists protesting outside and inside the state house, are undemocratic because they’re blocking the usual democratic process.
But Thompson praised those protesters.”The people came out and they have a right to redress their government,” she said. “And they let their voices be heard, and they want to make sure that the governor understands that they are a part of this society, that they have rights.”
“He is the governor of all the people and not just some of the people,” she added.
The House and Senate are both in recess until next week, so after Tuesday’s committee hearing ends, action on the bill will not resume until after the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Thompson tells PoliticsNation the legislation will then be sent to the House floor on Tuesday of next week, then the action will go to the Senate.
Even if Republicans successfully pass the new restrictions, Thompson believes Texas women won’t forget.
“Women refused to be bullied in the state of Texas, and we will see them at the polls,” she added.