Texas House Panel Passes Abortion Ban on 2nd Try

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The Texas abortion showdown is ramping up again after Gov. Rick Perry called a special legislative session on the issue.

Color-coordinated protestors gathered Tuesday outside the state capitol building, with pro-life supporters clad in blue and pro-choice in orange. Inside, thousands of people waited, ready to share their opinion on House Bill 2.

The debate over Texas' attempt to change its abortion law ran well into the night. More than 2,000 citizens signed up to speak, but less than 300 were actually able to before the midnight deadline.

The initial statehouse bill failed after Democrat Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered for nearly 10 hours and then unruly protestors continued to run out the clock.

"I believe that a person has a right to filibuster a bill and speak up, but I don't believe that you take that filibuster and coordinate it with the mob," State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, said.

If the bill passes this time around, it would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Most unborn babies can feel pain by that stage.

The measure would also require abortion clinics and abortion doctors to comply with the same standards as the rest of the medical field.

"It supports the safety, the health and safety of a woman who does choose to have an abortion," State Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, said. "We're just asking that the facilities come up to the same standards as any other outpatient facility. I mean how can you go wrong with that?"

Critics say the bill would shut down most of the abortion clinics in Texas.

"We think it's bad for the state of Texas to be waging this kind of fight against the women of this state, but we will fight it," state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, said.

Tuesday's hearing was meant to take note of public testimony. At the end of the night, the bill cleared the committee by an 8-3 vote.

The full Texas statehouse will vote on the bill next week.

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Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

News Anchor & Reporter

Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.