AUSTIN (AP/KXAN) — The proposed new abortion restrictions cleared the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday as Christian conservatives rallied for the bill.
During the vote, several of the bill's opponents stood and sang "We're Not Gonna Take It," as they left the hearing room.
"We are not going to be silenced," said Kandace Vallejo. "We may or may not win but we're not going to go so easily.
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum hosted lawmakers to show their support for House Bill 2 in the Texas Capitol building.
"I wanted to come down here, because I wanted to stand with these men and women who are doing something really great," Santorum said.
The Texas House approved the measure on Thursday and it is moving toward a final vote in the Senate on Friday. If passed, it would require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, only allow abortions in surgical centers, dictate when abortion pills are taken and ban abortions after 20 weeks.
Thousands of protesters both supporting and opposing the bill have flooded the Capitol.
Christian conservatives have made the bill a top priority, attracting national attention. Democrats hope to use the anger over the bill to build more support.
"I believe we've touched a raw, political nerve that has not been tapped before," said Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, after the vote.
Some Senate Democrats are holding their own rallies across the state to highlight their opposition to the bill
"Those in control of the Capitol need to stop, think and listen to the people of Texas," said Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin.
Watson was with Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, community leaders and doctors for a week long tour that makes its first stop in Houston Tuesday night. The group was to be in San Antonio on Thursday.
"I fear that our current leaders have given up on Texas and now they're just looking out for themselves," Davis said.
After Thursday's committee meeting, Chairwoman Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, said she plans to ask the lieutenant governor to add women's health care as an interim charge for her committee, based in part on testimony she heard during the abortion bill's hearing.
"I am really angry about that phrase: War on Women," Nelson said. "I'm a woman. I've been fighting for 20 years to improve things for women."
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