Texas House to vote on abortion restrictions - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Texas House to vote on abortion restrictions

Controversial abortion legislation hit the State House floor Tuesday. While there appears to be enough votes to win passage, those opposed to it are not giving up without a fight.

People on both side of this controversial issue have packed into the Capitol for the debate. But unlike in past encounters for the most part the fireworks have remained on the House floor.

The House gallery started filling up fast Tuesday morning. With more people lining up under the Capitol dome, House Speaker Joe Straus opened the HB2 abortion debate with a greeting and a warning.

"We're glad you are here we appreciate your cooperation in respecting our rules as we debate today," Straus said.

It didn't take long for the floor fight to flare up.

"I don't believe there is a pro-incest person in this chamber and I don't believe there is a pro-rapist in this chamber," Texas Representative Senfronia Thompson (D) Houston said.

Standing with others holding coat hangers and knitting needles Thompson triggered a sharp exchange with Republican Ron Simmons.

"Would you describe that to me how they go in there and take that unborn baby and dismember that unborn baby would you describe exactly how that works," Simmons said.

The faceoff involved Thompson's amendment to allow late term abortions in special cases.

"I know you know that you don't want to put your constituents back to the back alleys of knitting needles, the turpentine, or the coat hanger. I want my constituents just like you do, current and future, to have the best chance for life that's what I want," Thompson said.

The cheer from Pro-Life supporters brought about the first expulsion of the day.

House Democrats tried to chip away at HB2.The focus was not just on the 20 week abortion ban.

"I believe this body is about to pass legislation that is unconstitutional," said Texas Republican Sarah Davis (R) Houston.

Davis and Democrat Gene Wu tried to point out that the section of the bill which adds new restrictions on abortion clinics and doctors have been struck down in other states with similar laws.

"The challenged measure, which is almost word for word exactly the same as this bill, the challenged measure is facially unconstitutional," Wu said.

With more than 20 amendments filed the debate on the Texas House floor was expected to last well into the evening.

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