Texas lawmakers debate abortion restrictions

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Women's rights protesters react in gallery of the House of Representative Chambers as State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, works on the second reading of Senate Bill 5, the bill she sponsored, during debate on abortion held on the House floor of the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, June 23, 2013. If passed, the bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks, require that they take place in surgical centers, and restrict where and when women can take abortion-inducing pills_and force 37 out of 42 abortion clinics in Texas to close and undergo millions of dollars in upgrades. (AP Photo/Statesman.com, Rodolfo Gonzalez)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republicans armed with Bible verses and Democrats carrying coat hangers are debating some of the strictest abortion regulations in the country as time runs out on the Texas special legislative session.

Democrats were supported by hundreds of women's rights demonstrators in audience as they tried to stall the legislation early Monday morning.

The measure would ban abortions after 20th week of pregnancy, require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and limit abortions to surgical centers. Supporters say the bill will raise the standard of women's health care, but opponents point out the bill would shut down 37 of 42 abortion clinics in the state.

If the House can delay long enough, Senate Democrats can stage a filibuster until the session ends at midnight Tuesday.