LIVEBLOG: Texas Senate considers abortion legislation


For constant live updates on the Texas Senate's consideration of abortion legislation on Twitter, follow Bobby Blanchard on Twitter @bobbycblanchard and Laura Wright on Twitter @wrightlauras. 

11:11: Texas Senate still in final discussion of bill, with the estimated time of completion for the night unknown.

10:14: Pro-aborion rights activists are now marching downtown.

9:45: A total of 20 amendments have been tabled, all of which have been turned down by the Senate.

Several protesters in the gallery have been removed after chaining themselves to the railing. The Senate moves on to final statements, amidst shouting from the gallery and calls from Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, to allow the process to continue.

Pro-abortion and anti-abortion crowds have begun to form around the south steps of the Capitol, as the rotunda is currently at capacity and no more protesters or observers are being let in.

8:43: So far, 12 amendments have been turned down by the Senate.

At least 19 amendments were filed on the abortion legislation. The majortiy of votes against amendments have been 19-11.

Bobby Blanchard and Laura Wright, who have been live-tweeting and live blogging from watching the Texas Senate's live stream,  will be leaving The Daily Texan office to go to the Capitol as the debate winds down. Rallies are expected outside the Capitol. Follow them on Twitter @bobbycblanchard and @wrightlauras for live updates and live tweeting. 

7:45 p.m. — Senators began to consider amendments shortly after 6:30 p.m.

The first amendment was relating to abortion clinic's standards. The second amendment was relating to exceptions to the 20-week rule for the case of rape or incest.

Both of the amendments were tabled. The second amendment, filed by Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, resulted in a fierce debate between Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston and Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy. The two are known to be close friends.

Whitmire became frustrated when Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, asked if an amendment would endanger passage of the bill.

"If this amendment is not accepted, it is pure politics and that makes me sick," Whitmire said.

5:50 p.m. — Lawmakers have spent the better part of the afternoon questioning Sen. Glenn Hager, R-Katy, who filed the abortion legislation in the Texas Senate.

The debate is expected to go into the night. If the Texas Senate passes the bill without any amendments, it would go to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's desk for a signature. 

The abortion legislation would ban abortion after 20 weeks, place additional restrictions on abortion clinics and increase restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs. Supporters of the bill claim it makes abortion safer, and opponents of the bill claim it would make abortion more difficult to obtain. 

Protestors and supporters of the abortion legislation have stormed the Texas Capitol to watch the debate. Earlier today, the Department of Public Safety released a press release claiming that it had claimed 18 jars of feces from people attempting to enter the Capitol. DPS got some angry backlash on Twitter for also confiscating tampons.  DPS eventually reversed its policy and started letting tampons into the building.