People singing "Amazing Grace" and others shouting "Hail Satan" could be heard at the Texas state capitol in Austin on Tuesday as the fight to change Texas abortion laws reached a new level of discourse.
CNN reported the clashing sides signed up to testify
at a Tuesday House committee meeting on HB2, a bill that would ban abortions beyond 20 weeks of gestation, require abortion clinics to become ambulatory surgical centers, and force abortion-performing doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic.
Critics of the measure say it would necessitate the closure of the state's abortion clinics and deny access to many. Those who favor the bill claim it increases the level of care for women.
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The spirited debates included anti-abortion activists, dressed in blue shirts, challenging pro-choice activists, who wore orange.
"In 1979, I paid a registered physician $300 to kill my second child," said pro-life supporter Susan Collins, according to CNN. "I hated myself. It almost destroyed me."
At one point, a blogger at Cahnman's Musings caught on video the pro-lifers' song of "Amazing Grace" being drowned out by chants of "Hail Satan"
from the pro-choice side, as well as slogans about personal liberty. One woman yelled, "I'm (expletive) tired of men trying to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body!" CNN reports.
The "Hail Satan" chants prompted a response from Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.
"It would be unfair to say that all pro-abortion supporters would support this obscenity, and indeed most would not," he told LifeNews.com
. "Among hard-core activists, though, there are no doubt more than just a few who feel comfortable with invoking Satan's name in behalf of their cause. ... There are writers and activists who support more than abortion rights — they hail it as a positive good."
The original House bill failed to pass last week after another spirited day, which included an 11-hour filibuster by state Sen. Wendy Davis
(D-Fort Worth), to run out the clock on the legislative session. Gov. Rick Perry sponsored a special session so the legislature could again debate the measure.
According to CNN, nearly 2,000 people signed up for three minutes of time, but fewer than 100 could share their thoughts. A final vote is expected next week.
Registered nurse Vivian Femmy, who works at a pregnancy crisis clinic, is for the measure.
"I have been there on the front lines with the women we are talking about today," she told CNN.com. "I am pro-choice, and I am pro-woman. I am pro woman getting the kind of abortion care that is the finest care she can get. I support this bill because of what it will do to improve medical standards."
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