To show their support for Texas lawmakers who will be voting in favor of House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 1 which would ban abortion in the Lone Star state after 20 weeks' gestation, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar of the TLC reality television show "19 Kids and Counting" and the Rev. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, were joined by an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 pro-life advocates on the south steps of the state capitol in Austin Monday night for the Stand for Life pro-life rally.
Members of the Texas House of Representatives reconvened their second special session on Tuesday following the July 4 break to conduct a second reading and debate on amendments to HB 2, authored by Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker), which will be followed by a third reading on Wednesday and a vote. The Senate will reconvene on Thursday, and a final vote on the House and Senate bills is expected to take place as early as next week.
"My goal in this bill is to stop abortion at five months based on the pain" felt by unborn babies, Laubenberg said Tuesday, according to the Texas Tribune.
If passed, HB 2 and its companion bill, SB 1, would ban late-term abortion in the sixth to nine months of pregnancy, and will require abortion facilities to meet the same safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers, and it will also require abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital located within 30 miles of the abortion clinic, and will require abortionists to administer RU-486 in person.
Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, the nation's largest public policy women's organization that supports pro-life policies, organized the Austin rally with other pro-life groups, and told The Christian Post on Tuesday that Texas has become "ground zero in the abortion debate," and cited the incident last week in which pro-life groups sang the hymn "Amazing Grace" in the capitol rotunda while pro-abortion advocates shouted "Hail Satan."
Nance said she's in Texas to "link arms with the 20,000 CWA members of Texas and other pro-life citizens to show support and provide encouragement in their righteous battle to protect babies in utero and their mothers."
"This is the seminal human rights issue of our time," Nance commented.
During an interview on Mike Huckabee's talk radio show on Monday, Pastor Jeffress told the former governor that by shouting the Hail Satan mantra, people are revealing more than they intended to reveal about their position.
"Jesus described Satan as being a murderer from the beginning – the thief who comes to kill, steal and destroy," Jeffress said. "Satan is always on the side of death, and God is always on the side of life. …This is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats, it's a battle between a culture of life and death."
He added that as the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, the people he's witnessed being the strongest supporters of pro-life policies are the women who've had abortions. Jeffress explained that many women have shared with him that they believe their abortions were "the biggest mistakes of the lives" and they have been "scarred" from that experience.
When asked by CP why she and CWA believe that many pro-abortion advocates are opposed to legislation that would require abortion facilities to meet safety standards, Nance said she believes it's "because this has never really been about what's best for women and women's health."
"This is about a radical ideology of abortion as a right to be used at any point, for any reason, at any time, and any number all at the taxpayer's expense," she said. "Make no mistake, this is about power and money for big abortion."
Nance added that it's of vital importance for women to educate themselves and each other about the long-term impact abortion can have on their health, and to make sure that women in their communities know about the options that are available to them at pregnancy care centers.
According to Nance, women need to arm themselves with the facts, such as knowing that "abortion increases the risk of mental illness by 81 percent. ... Information is power and we are called to give wise counsel to our sisters. Women are the life-givers and therefore should be better able to defend the most vulnerable among us."