Texas special session will deal with abortion

AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 25: State Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) (R) celebrates with State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth) (3L) as the Democrats defeat the anti-abortion bill SB5, which was up for a vote on the last day of the legislative special session June 25, 2013 in Austin, Texas. A combination of Sen. Davis' 13-hour filibuster and protests by reproductive rights advocates helped to ultimately defeat the controversial abortion legislation at midnight. (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
State Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) celebrates with Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth) as the Democrats defeat the anti-abortion bill SB5 on June 25, 2013, in Austin, Texas.  (Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

Democrats succeeded in keeping stringent new abortion restrictions off the books in Texas early Wednesday — but that victory may be short-lived. Gov. Rick Perry (R) is calling the legislature back into session to deal with the abortion bill, among other issues.

"We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do," Perry said, a reference to the protests that kept the abortion bill from becoming law during a special session Tuesday.

After Republicans ruled that a filibuster of the abortion legislation by Sen. Wendy Davis (D) had come to an end after 11 hours, Democrats held up the vote with parliamentary tactics while protesters drowned out lawmakers with chants until after the midnight deadline.

“I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas," he said. "Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state. Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn.

The new special session begins July 1 and will also deal with transportation funding and sentencing for 17-year-olds convicted of murder. The governor can call for as many special sessions as he likes, and he determines the list of topics up for debate.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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