DALLAS –– Gov. Rick Perry said he has "put pro-life measures at the top of the call list" of the upcoming second special legislative session before criticizing Sen. Wendy Davis for filibustering the stalled abortion bill during an adress at the 43rd Annual National Right to Life Convention at a D/FW Airport hotel.
Perry was met with cheers Thursday morning as he discussed his call for another session. On Tuesday, the Republican push for abortion restrictions was shut down by a more than 10-hour filibuster by Davis, aided by a passionate crowd of pro-choice supporters that filled the halls of the State Capitol.
"What we witnesses Tuesday was nothing more than the hijacking of the Democratic process," he said of the protesters that cheered and clapped from the end of Davis' filibuster until the end of the first special session Tuesday.
The governor then brought Davis directly into his speech as he discussed children born into difficult circumstances. The Harvard Law School graduate who became a Texas Senator was the daughter of a single mother and divorced and raising her first child at the age of 19.
"She didn't come from particularly good circumstances. What if her mom had said I just can't do this, I don't want to do this?," Perry said. "It's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example that every life must be given the chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters."
Davis later responded to Perry's comments.
"Rick Perry's statement is without dignity and tarnishes the high office he holds," she said. "They are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view. Our governor should reflect our Texas values. Sadly, Gov. Perry fails that test."
As pro-choice supporters celebrated after hearing early Wednesday morning that a vote was unable to be made in time, Republicans fumed.
Among those perturbed by the halting of the vote was Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who was also scheduled to speak at the convention Saturday.
“Obama-style, mob-rule politics exploded in the Texas Senate on the final day of the first special session, derailing legislation of great importance to Texans,” wrote Dewhurst in a blog post Wednesday night. “The message sent by the angry throng gathered from across the country was clear: they will stop at nothing to undermine conservative Texas values.”
He then challenged “leftists” to “Come and Take it!” in a Twitter post.
Other pro-life guests at the convention include Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz.
About 800 people attended the convention, which began Friday morning at the Hyatt Regency DFW International Airport and will end Saturday. After the speech, Perry told reporters he's delaying his announcement on his future political plans. The governor says his focus is on the next special session, which will begin July 1.
In addition to abortion regulation reform, Perry proposed lawmakers also act on separate bills dealing with highway funding and juvenile justice.