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East Texans prepare for trip to Capitol to rally in support of pro-life legislation


Some East Texans are gearing up to make a trip to Austin on Monday and Tuesday, all in support of legislation that would increase restrictions on abortions in Texas.

Participants will attend the "Stand 4 Life" rally Monday evening outside the State Capitol, in favor of bills that were defeated by a filibuster in the first special session.

But East Texans said after thousands of protestors filled the Capitol against Senate Bill 5, it is now their turn to be heard.

"It's important that we meet them there and show the nation and the world that Texas women are in favor of this legislation," said Emily Nicholson, who will make the trip to Austin for the rally. "We will show them that we will turn out in support of it."

If passed, key points of House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 1 would ban most abortions after twenty weeks and require clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center standards.

"You would have the same standards at an abortion clinic that you would have at a place you would get your colonoscopy," said Tyler State Representative Matt Schaefer. "I don't think that's too much to ask."

But the bill has met opposition of major medical groups, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Texas Medical Association and the Texas Hospital Association.

"We should listen to the physicians who know what's happening and know about women's healthcare," said D. Karen Wilkerson of the Texas Democratic Party. "I certainly don't want a legislator with a law degree making a decision that affects someone's health care."

Nicholson said she believes in the lawmakers intention and believes the bill will make strides to improve services that are offered.

"The slogan for pro choice activists throughout decades has been safe, rare, legal," she said. We're talking about simply making them safe."

Wilkerson said the bill is a move that attempts to subvert the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.

"We're going to make it impossible for people to get what is their legal right if they choose to make that terrible decision," she said.

With the spotlight now on Texas, Schaefer said it is time to send a message.

"We want people to know that there are a lot of people in Smith county, in East Texas, Tyler and Bullard that do stand for life," he said.

Monday's "Stand 4 Life" rally, organized in-part with Schaefer's office,  is one of two separate pro-life events taking place at the Capitol.

Other East Texans will be leaving on a bus trip to Austin on Tuesday morning. That trip is organized by local churches and includes transportation to the Capitol free of charge.

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