AUSTIN -- Herminia Rivera stands alone on the south steps of the Capitol on Tuesday, hoping her message will make a difference.
“I believe in choice, but there's no need for someone to die, ever,” she said.
Inside the Capitol Extension, hundreds of other abortion opponents began lining up and signing up to speak hours in advance, each prepared to testify on House Bill 2. Many brought along their children as well.
Sheridan Wade works at the Arlington Pregnancy Center. She drove to Austin to tell her story. She says she's no longer able to have children due to an abortion she had several years ago.
“I was going to college, and thought I need to be able to fulfill my life,” Wade said. “I've been on both sides, so I know the consequences of choosing abortion as well as being able to choose life.”
House Bill 2 would ban most abortions after 20 weeks and institute tough new standards for clinics.
Molly White of Operation Outcry says that's exactly what's needed in Texas.
“On your body and on your psyche, a late term abortion is very devastating and physically risky,” White said. “We want tougher laws so that they have to stay with the same medical standards as every other medical practice.”
Critics of the bill say it will shut down 37 of the 42 clinics in the state.
They plan on speaking out in the committee meeting as well.
“I think it's really really important that this debate that we're having here is not simply about whether or not abortion is appropriate,” said Sarah Watkins. “It needs to be about whether or not women can access the reproductive health care that they need.”
Texas Troopers stand at the ready in case the gathering that includes those on both sides of the issue gets out of hand.
But everyone in this crowd insists, they just want the chance for lawmakers to hear their voices and views.