- (Photo: Bryan Redding Photography)
After Democratic activism botched the passage of legislation in the Texas Senate that would have banned abortions in that state after 20 weeks, the legislature's Republican majority vowed that the process would not be derailed again in a second special session that begins on Monday.
"The world has seen images of pro-abortion activists screaming, cheering," Republican Gov. Rick Perry noted, according to a CBS report on Monday. "Going forward, we have to match their intensity, but do it with grace and civility."
The regular session for the Texas legislature ended on May 27 but Texas Gov. Rick Perry called back lawmakers immediately after it ended, to approve a number of items on the legislative agenda including tougher regulations on abortion in the state.
A ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy is not the only restriction being sought. The proposal currently before lawmakers also requires that abortions be performed at ambulatory surgical centers and mandates that doctors obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice.
Supporters of the new regulations say they will help protect women's health but critics of the new regulations say they are designed to ultimately shutter abortion clinics in Texas.
Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth and her colleagues attempted to kill the abortion legislation with a 13-hour filibuster on the last day of the first special session last Tuesday.
Republicans, however, used a parliamentary technicality to silence Davis who was on her feet speaking on the Senate floor shortly before the midnight deadline to vote on the bill.
Abortion rights advocates in the public gallery took over from the filibuster attempt and cheered so loud, senators on the floor were unable to hear sufficiently to pass the bill before the midnight deadline.
Republican Sen. Donna Campbell, who called for the gallery to be cleared after the incident said she doesn't expect to have a repeat of last week's actions in the Senate.
"I believe more presence by law enforcement will help keep disruptive behavior from thwarting the democratic process," she told CBS. She noted that it was possible that more families could show up to express their views and "every Texan's voice deserves to be heard. Not just the noisiest and unruliest."
Gov. Perry also noted that he expects lawmakers will make it harder for a filibuster to talk any proposed legislation to death by getting their work done more quickly this time around.
"I want the Legislature to be getting work done that actually that they had, by and large, finished," he said.