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Dewhurst will keep abortion vote on track

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Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst looks over the Senate rules trying to figure how to end the Democrats’ attempt to defeat the anti-abortion bill SB5 by a filibuster on the last day of the legislative special session June 25, 2013 in Austin. (credit: Erich) Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst looks over the Senate rules trying to figure how to end the Democrats’ attempt to defeat the anti-abortion bill SB5 by a filibuster on the last day of the legislative special session June 25, 2013 in Austin. (credit: Erich)

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – The controversy over a Texas abortion bill could finally come to a close on Friday. The bill has been making its way through the State Legislature for several weeks in now two special sessions. The sweeping abortion restrictions were approved by the Texas House earlier this week and, on Friday, the Texas Senate will take up the measure.

The Texas House had already approved the bill once. But protestors made a ruckus during the first special legislative session, and Democrats were able to defeat the measure in the Texas Senate. According to Republican lawmakers, that will not happen again.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has called for extra law enforcement. Dozens of police officers will guard the gallery and the hallways of the State Capitol on Friday as the Texas Senate is scheduled to vote on the same abortion legislation that failed to be passed two weeks ago.

Dewhurst blamed the bill's defeat on an "unruly mob" of anti-abortion activists. Protestors shouted through the final 15 minutes of the first special session, preventing lawmakers from being able to conduct business. This came after a day-long filibuster from Democratic Fort Worth Sen. Wendy Davis.

Gov. Rick Perry called for the second special session in order to pass this bill. Democrats have acknowledged that there is little they can do to stop the restrictions from being approved on Friday.

If the abortion regulations pass this time — and all signs point to that happening — abortion doctors would be required to have privileges at nearby hospitals, abortions would only be permitted in surgical centers, there would be strict limits on abortion-inducing pills, and all abortions would be banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy. All but a handful of abortion clinics across Texas would be forced to close.

The Texas Senate vote is set for Friday afternoon. The bill then goes to Perry. He has already said that he will sign the bill if it gets to his desk. And anti-abortion activists are already prepared to challenge it in court.

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