Megachurch pastor Steve Riggle of Grace Community Church in Texas has asked pro-life defenders to "flood the Capitol" with support as the Texas Senate prepares for a crucial abortion vote later on Friday.
"We really need pastors to rally their churches to show up for this. We won't have another chance to show our support. We may regret it if we don't. Our legislators have really stepped up on this. Now we need to stand behind them," Riggle wrote for Charisma News.
The Texas bill, which seeks to ban abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy and create tighter guidelines for abortion providing facilities, potentially limiting their number in the state, has gone through several twists and turns over the past few weeks.
Democratic Senator Wendy Davis pulled out a 10-hour filibuster on June 25 when the Senate was supposed to vote on the bill. The bill failed to pass before the session ended at midnight. Texas Governor Rick Perry, a strong advocate for the abortion restrictions, called for a special session on the bill, and on Thursday the Health and Human Services Committee voted 6-3 in its favor.
While pro-choice advocates are protesting what they see as a move to restrict women's rights, pro-life advocates say the measure would better protect women's health.
After House Bill 2 passed the Texas House of Representatives by a 98-49 vote on Tuesday, pro-abortion advocates shouted "shame on you" to Republican lawmakers as they exited the chamber.
Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas), however, told The Christian Post on Wednesday that it is important to remember that the debate at the end involves the lives of real humans.
"So often when we talk about the abortion debate it's very esoteric, very ambiguous, very philosophical, but in the end, what we're dealing with here are human beings," Villalba said.
Democratic Sen. Royce West of Dallas conceded that it is likely the bill will pass the Senate and be signed by Gov. Perry, but promised that it will be challenged and the fight on abortion will continue.
"As soon as it's signed by the governor, it will be challenged … we believe the whole bill is unconstitutional," Royce said.
A similar abortion-restrictions bill is also headed to the North Carolina Senate after being passed 74-41 on Thursday by the state's House of Representatives. The difference in that case is N.C.'s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, has said that he will likely veto the bill, citing concerns for women's health.