Advocates rally outside Capitol as debate over abortion bill con - | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Advocates rally outside Capitol as debate over abortion bill continues

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While lawmakers debate the merits of the abortion bill inside the Capitol, Pro-Life and Pro-Choice supporters took their voices outside.

National groups like Planned Parenthood and Students for Life are in Austin. Advocates say they are closely watching the abortion bill because what happens here will affect the rest of the country.

"We're getting on our Stand with Texas Women bus and taking a road trip across Texas. Whoa!" President of Planned Parenthood Cecile Richards said.

Richards says they've spoken out about the abortion bill in Austin. Now, it's time to hit the road. The group announced a statewide Stand with Texas Women bus tour. It plans to hold events around the state with community members and medical professionals.

"We are traveling around Texas to hear your stories to learn about your personal challenges and to stand with you against a sate leadership that has become a very real threat to Texans' rights and the wellbeing of Texas families," Senator Wendy Davis said.

Students for Life of America also wants to talk about Planned Parenthood.

"Sixty percent of people ages 18 to 24 do not even know that Planned Parenthood performs abortions. People think it's all women's health," Alexa Coombs of Students for Life of America said.

A small group of blue shirts quietly stood in the back of the Stand for Texas Women event.

"We're here to stand up for women's civil rights, those women who have decided to birth and bear a baby. We feel they should not be ostracized or ridiculed in any way and we're here to be a voice for the unborn also because no one speaks for them it seems like anymore," Charles Lingerfel of the North Texas Freedom Rally said.

Another group with more abortion bill concern is Rise up Texas. If House bill two passes, they say it will impact poor and rural women of color.

The bill bans abortions past 20 weeks, dictates when abortion pills are taken, requires doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and only allows abortions in surgical centers. The later would leave five facilities in the state.

"Which means if women want to access these services, they would have to travel over a thousand miles in order to receive care. So if the women are already from disadvantaged economic backgrounds, it would place an additional burden on them in trying to access these services and it could potentially lead to women resorting to dangerous measures in order to have their needs met," Rocio Villalobos said. .

A nun from the Valley led a small procession of Pro-Life supporters to St. Mary Cathedral for mass and prayer. Both sides are waiting to see what happens.

"As Texas goes, so does the nation. Roe vs. Wade started here and we think this is the state that will turn it around," Coombs said.

Stand with Texas Women bus tour is on its way to Houston Tuesday night. Over the next few days, the tour plans to hit other cities like Dallas, El Paso, and Brownsville.

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