The Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday opened up a new round of debate on a restrictive abortion bill, legislation that has galvanized activists on both sides of the issue statewide and nationally in recent weeks.
House Bill 2 would ban abortion after 20 weeks, require doctors performing the procedure to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles, require abortions to be performed in ambulatory surgical centers and regulate abortion-inducing drugs, among other restrictions.
The measure failed in regular session late last month after Sen. Wendy Davis led a headline-making 13-hour filibuster to derail a Republican vote. But Gov. Rick Perry immediately pledged that the Legislature would pass the restrictions during a 30-day special session, which began July 1.
On Monday, demonstrations shook the State Capitol as several thousand people wearing either blue (anti-abortion) or orange (pro-abortion rights) met to rally or march. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was among those who addressed the blue-clad supporters of the bill.