5 Things to Watch as Texas Lawmakers Debate Anti-Abortion Bill Again


"We're hoping that some of these Republican legislators are going to say, 'You know what? It's not right and it's not worth it," Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, told ABC News. "If they don't, all they're doing is helping the Democratic Party strengthen."

Even though the outcome of the special session remains to be seen, Bird said Republicans are building a "resume" of misdeeds that Democrats will use against them, including Texas' two U.S. senators' opposition to comprehensive immigration reform in Congress.

"For the Democrats, they have to think of this as helping to, perhaps, move the dial a little closer to them looking at 2018 and 2022," Jones said. "It's unrealistic to think that this will have an effect on 2014."

4) Wild Card: House Republicans

The untold story of last special legislative session that saw the death of the anti-abortion bill was the role of Republicans in making Davis's filibuster a reality.

House Republicans' reluctance to pass anti-abortion legislation is evident in the fact that more than a dozen bills restricting abortion failed to make it though the chamber in the regular session. And in the special legislative session, it was one of the last items Republican House Speaker Joe Straus took up, making a Davis filibuster possible.

Speaking to Texas reporters in December, Straus dismissed efforts by some in his own party to bring up anti-abortion bills, calling for the party to "get serious about serious issues" instead.

"Speaker Straus did not want this legislation to even come on the agenda," said Jones. "The House committee let hundreds of people testify, and the more people who testify the longer it takes."

"The House is controlled by centrist Republicans in alliance with Democrats," Jones added. "Straus delayed it long enough that he opened up the window for a filibuster."

Hinojosa said that those "citizen filibusters" will undoubtedly be a factor of the Democratic strategy again.

"At the end of the day, in committee hearings our legislators can force the chair not to adjourn and have them continue to accept testimony from women and men in the legislature," Hinojosa said. "The more you see our legislators becoming engaged and demanding that you be heard, you're going to see this process stretch out to the point where we'll be able to have our senators come in and block this bill."

House Republicans also didn't operate from the same playbook as their Senate counterparts. After the Senate passed a version of the anti-abortion legislation without a 20-week ban, House Republicans worked on a version that put the ban back in.

The degree to which Republicans can get on the same page about their strategy could determine how quickly they can get an anti-abortion bill passed.

Democrats are also hoping that Republicans who may have been uncomfortable with taking up controversial social legislation can be swayed if debate drags on.

But Henson said that the intense public spotlight on this legislative session will make Republican defection very difficult.

"It will be a factor again, but I think given the attention and the polarization surrounding the issue right now, it will be harder for House Republicans, even the leadership, to drag their feet," Henson said.

"The situation has changed from what it was a few weeks ago. Nobody in the House really wants to take a hit in the Republican primary for scuttling the abortion bill this time around," he added.

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