After Eight Hours of Testimony, Pro-Life Bill Moves Forward in Texas

Katie Pavlich

7/3/2013 8:04:00 AM - Katie Pavlich
UPDATE: The breakdown of 3,543 registered witnesses was 2,181 in support of HB2; 1,355 against or 62% for and 38% against.

Yesterday at the Texas Capitol in Austin a hearing was held on the new pro-life bill, HB2. The legislation bans abortions after five months and requires abortion clinics to meet basic medical standards. Lawmakers on the House State Affairs Committee watched as 2000 witnesses poured in to testify about the legislation.

A controversial abortion measure in the Texas Legislature advanced early Wednesday morning, after a House committee heard from some of the nearly 2,000 witnesses that showed up to testify on the bill.

The House State Affairs Committee approved the bill an an 8-3 party line vote, according to news reports.

It was the first action on the bill since the Legislature returned to the Texas capitol for a special session starting on Monday. The full chamber will now take up the bill next week.

Close to 3,500 people turned up on Tuesday to register a position on a the measure - which would ban abortion after 20 weeks and that critics say contains regulations that could force most abortion providers out of business - and more than 1,100 registered to testify, spilling into multiple overflow rooms in the state capitol building in Austin, according to The Associated Press.

β€œIn terms of witnesses, the system has never seen overload like this,” said Rep. Helen Giddings, the vice chairwoman of the House State Affairs Committee.

In the end, fewer than 100 were able to testify, as the committee limited testimony to 8 hours, according to the AP.

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst delivered cookies to pro-lifers yesterday.

Debate on the legislation is expected to start on the Texas floor on Monday, June 8.