(Texas Tribune) — The abortion fight that has engulfed the Texas Capitol this summer appears headed toward a dramatic conclusion today.
At 2 p.m., the state Senate will take up the sweeping abortion legislation that late last month fell victim to a filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis, giving rise to two weeks of fiery protests and sustained national media attention.
The House approved the legislation — which would ban abortion after 20 weeks and potentially close up to 90 percent of the state's abortion clinics — on Wednesday, leaving only Senate approval standing between the bill and Gov. Rick Perry's desk.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has said disruptive protests from the Senate gallery — the kind that helped Senate Democrats run out the clock on the bill the first time — will not be tolerated. Because Republicans have moved the bill along more quickly this time, the outnumbered Democrats also do not have the option of filibustering the legislation to death again, meaning the bill's passage is virtually assured.
Democrats, however, still plan to throw amendments at the bill, and the heated debate is likely to last well into the night.
Activists will also return to the Capitol today following a few days of protests outside of Austin. After rallies this week in Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth, the "Stand With Texas Women" bus tour, launched by Planned Parenthood, traveled on Thursday to San Antonio, where several hundred attendees gathered to hear from Davis and the city's mayor, Julián Castro, among others.
"We know that the real intent of this legislation is to ensure that women don't have any choice in the state of Texas, and we can't stand that," Castro told the crowd, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
The bus tour will also travel today to El Paso, Brownsville and McAllen.
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