Texas Gov. Rick Perry Calls Second Special Session on Abortion Legislation
After a confusing conclusion to a special session involving protests and a filibuster, Texas Governor Rick Perry is calling for a second special session for the state Legislature over proposed abortion legislation.
Perry announced Wednesday that the special session would begin on July 1 and deal with multiple issues, including the controversial bill that could result in the closure of the majority of the Lone Star State's abortion clinics.
Andrew Smith, spokesman for the Texas Pro-Life Action Team, told The Christian Post that he was in support of the second special session. "We appreciate the Governor's call for a second special session and think it will be successful," said Smith.
Smith also said that he felt the pro-choice side in the intense debate over the proposed new regulations on abortion providers was merely a vocal minority. "Pro-abortion activists are no longer interested in 'safe, legal, and rare' abortion and instead want all abortion, all the time with no restrictions or regulations," said Smith.
"This is a policy that has zero support from the people of Texas. In that sense, Tuesday night's actions represent a Pyrrhic victory for the pro-aborts. Nobody actually wants what they were screaming for."
Earlier this month Gov. Perry called for a special session of the Texas Legislature to focus on abortion regulation. Known as Senate Bill 5 and introduced by Republican Sen. Glenn Hegar, the bill included increased regulation of abortion clinics and doctors. Supporters of the bill championed SB 5 as a necessary regulatory measure, while critics argued that it would result in the shuttering of nearly all of Texas' clinics due to the costs of enacting the new measures.
Last week, SB 5 passed the Texas Senate in a vote of 20 yeas to 10 nays and the House on early morning Monday in a vote of 95 yeas to 34 nays.
As it was debated in the House, hundreds of pro-choice demonstrators came to Austin to protest the passage of the bill. A crucial point of contention was the ban of nearly all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. While removed from SB 5 during the amending process, it was added back while in the House.
On Tuesday, Democratic Senator Wendy Davis filibustered the bill for several hours, gaining much positive press on social media. According to CBS News, Davis' Twitter followers went from 1,200 Tuesday morning to over 20,000 by Tuesday night.
However, minutes before the special session's deadline, Davis apparently violated the rules of filibuster and had to stop. Shouts and screaming from protestors apparently interfered with the vote.
While the bill would pass the Senate once again with a vote of 19 yeas to 10 nays, the confusion from the crowd's behavior made it unclear whether the vote was finished before or after the midnight deadline.
According to a recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, 62 percent of respondents stated they support prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks.