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Pro-Life & Pro-Choice Activists Gather In Austin

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
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AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) - Thousands of pro-life activists cheered even before their rally began on the steps of the State Capitol.

Attorney General and potential gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott was among the mostly Republican leaders who attended. “I am here tonight to stand for life with you,” he told the crowd, “and I say with the irony of someone sitting in a wheelchair saying we will stand for life.”

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst told pro-choice activists that he loves them as much as unborn children, and that he respects their free speech rights. “As a Texan, I respect your toughness,” he said, “but as a leader, we’re going to pass this bill.”

On Tuesday, the full Texas House will vote on a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks and require new standards for providers.

A State Senate committee heard public testimony all day on Monday. In fact, the committee did not wrap up its hearing until about 1:30 a.m. early Tuesday morning, as 2,000 people lined up to speak.

At the same time as the pro-life rally, hundreds of pro-choice activists marched from the State Capitol down Congress Avenue in Austin.

Laura Barton was one of those a pro-choice activists. “Women should have the right to make a choice for themselves,” she said. “We decided this back in 1973, Roe vs. Wade. Obviously, we’re still having fights over this, which is ridiculous.”

Those opposed to the restrictions accuse Republicans of creating a bill based on religion rather than science.

Judy Wilder, another marching pro-choice activist said, “They need to provide family planning. They need to provide free birth control. And then, that’s when the number of abortions go down.”

Organizers of the pro-life rally told the crowd to show up at the State Capitol before dawn on Tuesday to get a seat in the gallery as the State House debates and votes on the abortion measures. The State Senate committee is expected to vote on the bill after the State House version is brought to the floor.

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