AUSTIN -- With the Texas House debate as a backdrop, Planned Parenthood kicked off a state-wide bus tour at the Texas Capitol Tuesday morning.
The tour began with a rally and a sea of signs in orange, blue, white and black. Thousands represented two sides of the same issue of abortion regulations in Texas and how they would impact women.
Lesli Simms has been to hearings and testimony since the debate began.
"Women of color, lower income women and women who are working a second or third job cannot be here today. That's just a simple fact. But I can and I will be here every day that I'm required," Simms said.
She told KVUE that she spent her 22nd birthday witnessing what turned out to be a historic night in the Texas Senate.
"That filibuster though was more than a single event to block a bad bill," said Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, who delivered the filibuster that prevented a vote on the abortion bill in the first special session. "It was an expression of democracy in action and a clear signal that Texans [had] had enough."
Citizens, lawmakers and doctors will travel across the state on a custom-made bus for the Stand with Texas Women Tour. Planned Parenthood is sponsoring the tour. They say the abortion bill and its supporters are waging a war on women, and that it will negatively impact the health of Texas' women in many ways.
"Decisions made by our state leaders are effectively tying the hands of doctors, tying my hands, and leaving my patients out in the cold," OB/GYN Dr. Christina Sebestyen told the crowd.
Supporters of the legislation have a message of their own, and say they hope to set the story straight.
"There is so much confusion in this issue, that Pro-Lifers are against women, and it's not at all that. We want women to be informed; we want them to make good choices," Patricia Hidalgo of Grand Prairie said.
"I honestly believe that if they wanted this to be safe and they really cared about women they'd really read the bill and understand what it was saying," said Amy Kinney of Pflugerville.
Until it's all sorted out in the House and Senate, Simms says she will keep on fighting, and telling her story across the Lone Star State.
"This is more than just an abortion issue. This is an issue of our health, this is an issue of access," she said.
The Stand With Texas Women Tour will make the following stops:
Tuesday, July 9
Wednesday, July 10
- Fort Worth
Thursday, July 11
- San Antonio
Friday, July 12
- El Paso