DALLAS (Reuters) - Governor Rick Perry on Thursday vowed that Texas will pass a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and accused opponents of the measure of "hijacking the democratic process."
The Republican governor's comments to the National Right to Life convention in Dallas, the nation's leading anti-abortion group, came a day after he announced that lawmakers will return to the state capital for a second special legislative session, in part to address abortion restrictions.
A sweeping proposal to restrict abortions failed in the final moments of a special legislative session earlier this week after a Democratic state senator, Wendy Davis, staged a filibuster to run out the legislative clock, speaking on the floor of the state senate for more than 10 hours straight.
Hundreds of abortion rights supporters chanted and shouted from the gallery as majority Republicans managed to stop her filibuster and pass the bill by a vote of 19 to 10. But the measure was not signed into law until after the midnight deadline for the end of the special legislative session.
"What we witnessed Tuesday was nothing more than the hijacking of the democratic process," Perry said on Thursday. "This is simply too important a cause to allow unruly actions of a few to stand in its way."
Davis has been hailed by abortion rights and women's groups as a symbol of their fight against restrictions on abortion. Her filibuster was streamed live on a number of websites and she has been interviewed on national television news programs.
In addition to the ban on abortion after 20 weeks, the Texas bill would place new health regulations on abortion clinics and restrict the use of drugs to end pregnancy.
Perry, the nation's longest serving governor, told reporters after his convention speech that he plans to delay his expected announcement on whether he will seek re-election in 2014.
"That is not my focus right now," he said.
(Reporting by Lisa Maria Garza; Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and John Wallace)
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