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3,800 people file a position for Senate abortion hearing

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A Senate committee hearing on the abortion bill wraps up just hours before the House is scheduled to debate and vote the bill.

Thousands of people walked inside the Capitol Monday to register a  position on the bill, and many to testify.

Senate committee chairwoman, Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, says 3800 people submitted oral or written testimony to the committee. After the hearing, stacks and stacks of registration cards piled up on the desk where state senators sat for the 15 hour hearing.

"I'm so grateful to the public who came to the Capitol to testify whether they testified for or against," Sen. Nelson said. "I've been in the Texas Senate 20 years and never seen anything like it."

Sen. Bob Duell, R- Greenville, placed two pairs of infant's shoes at his desk to symbolize the fetuses that could have been born.

The committee did not take a vote on SB 1, the senate's version of the abortion bill. It's identical to the House version, HB 2. The bill would ban abortions after five months into pregnancy and require clinics that provide the procedure improve standards of care.

Lawmakers listed to almost 15 hours of testimony, some of which was emotional. Opponents fear the bill would force most clinics that can't meet the new regulations to close therefore limiting options. Supporters say it protects life and improves the standard of care. Health officials in Texas say in 2011 72,240 abortions were performed.

Pro-choice supporters plan to gather outside the Capitol for a rally and press conference at 9:30 Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, the House is scheduled to take up the bill for debate and a vote. It's not clear how long debate could last. During the first special session, the GOP controlled House approved the bill 97-33.

Sen. Nelson says her committee will meet again after the House vote and then make a recommendation to the entire Senate.

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