Senate gavels in for new session on abortion

Senate gavels in for new session on abortion

A public hearing will take place Tuesday afternoon on controversial abortion legislation. As the second special session gets underway at the Texas Capitol the strategy in play now could spill over into the 2014 elections.

Before the controversial legislative gathering got underway Monday, Pro-Choice organizers were outside laying down the ground rules for the day.

"There should be an understanding among all of us here today that violence and belligerence should not be necessary," warned a Pro-Choice organizer to the supporters who were dressed in orange shirts.

Pro-Life organizers also urged their blue clad supporters to exercise restraint.

"They're out to protest we're not protesting. They're going to shout we're going to pray," said a Pro-Life organizer to his group in a Capitol hallway.

A few minor confrontations did take place. One happened in a meeting room just outside of the Senate Chamber where a Pro-Life news conference was about to begin.

"Women who are not in this room should be represented. We all have a choice," shouted a Pro-Choice supporter who held a sign.

As she walked out several of the people offered what seemed to be not entirely heartfelt farewell saying, "Thank you for coming."

The heated discussions during the rally are an indication of the coming emotional debates between the lawmakers themselves. A preview was provided by Sen. Donna Campbell, who showed up in her hospital uniform.

"Those that oppose the bill love the predatory industry more than the health of a woman or the life of a baby," said a visibly animated Sen. Donna Campbell (R) New Braunfels.

Democrats remain energized by Sen. Wendy Davis (D) Forth Worth.

"It's overwhelming, it's wonderful," said Sen. Davis as she walked out of the Capitol to speak to her fans on the South Steps of the Capitol.

Davis and other Pro-Choice lawmakers plan to take this new found confidence into the committee room. Compromise is not part of the vocabulary according to State Rep. Jessica Farrar.

"I don't think the middle ground is anywhere that takes away a constitutional right," said the Houston Democrat.

The Special Session melt-down last month in the Senate has the GOP leadership in damage control. Governor Rick Perry spent Monday morning doing media interviews to drum up support.

"This is a defense of a practice that is frankly indefensible," said Governor Perry on the Chad Hasty Show out of Lubbock.

For Pro-Choice supporters the always outspoken Natalie Maines provided a few verbal counter-punches.

"I just have a hard time keeping my mouth shut and when people ask a questions I tend to answer it," said Maines, who sang several songs during the Pro-Choice rally.

While this latest debate can only last 30 days the outcome is already starting to influence upcoming campaigns. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who is running for Lt. Governor, was at the Capitol keeping an eye on the process.

"Politics and policy are entertained the way folk's effect policy is through politics so I don't think our political message is going to eclipse the public policy message."

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst issuing a warning before the Senate went into recess. Dewhurst said that anyone making outbursts in the Senate gallery like what took place last month will be removed.

Along with the abortion bills, state lawmakers also have to consider a transportation funding bill. Another bill addresses a sentencing guideline for violent juvenile offenders.

A floor vote on the legislation will not take place until after the both chambers reconvene after the holiday break on the July 9.

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