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Hundreds Sign Up To Testify As Abortion Bill Hearings Begin In Austin

Jack Fink, CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM
(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
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AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) — An overflow crowd  overflowing with emotion.

Nearly 2,000 people on both sides of the abortion issue signed up to make their case before the State House Affairs Committee considering H-B 2, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks and raise standards for providers.

Stacey Smith, a pro-choice activist is among those who came to the Texas State Capitol to testify before the committee says, “I’m concerned we spend a lot of time caring more for the unborn than the born already here.  No one in the building has a right to be God, play God, and pretend to know what is happening in the life of any woman or man.”

Kristen Garza of Carrollton, a right to life activist, gave birth to her daughter at just 22 weeks.

Garza says, “The neo-natologist said her odds of living were like winning the lottery.  That was what he told me. I was 18 at the time, he was trying to make me think the worst.  Well, I won the lottery.”

Republican lawmakers believe they will pass the measure this time around.

State Representative Steve Toth, Republican of The Woodlands says, “62% of Texans support this legislation. Nearly 80 percent of Americans support an end to late term abortions, and we’re going to communicate that clearly this session.”

But Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis, who gained worldwide attention from her filibuster last week, says don’t count their side out.

Senator Wendy Davis, Democrat of Fort Worth says, “I always have believed in the power of democracy and I think we saw that in the last legislative session.”

Senator Davis says she expects the abortion restrictions will pass, and that individuals and groups will challenge them in court.

Lawmakers will hear public comments until midnight and then likely vote on HB 2, and send it to the full House.

No date has been set yet for a Senate committee to discuss abortion restrictions under Senate Bill 1.

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