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NBC Keeps Texas 'Battle Over Abortion' Alive, Frets Over 'Controversial Bill'

Two weeks after Texas state senator Wendy Davis and a mob of abortion activists prevented popularly supported pro-life legislation from being passed in the Lone Star State, on Tuesday's NBC Today, news reader Natalie Morales warned of another upcoming vote on the bill: "The battle over abortion rights is focused on Texas, where a controversial bill that failed last month will be back up for a vote." [Listen to the audio]

In the report that followed, correspondent Gabe Gutierrez declared Texas to be at "the epicenter of the national debate over abortion" and hyped "another showdown" at the state capitol. He detailed the bill's "controversial" measures: "...banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and mandating that abortion clinics meet the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers. It would also require that a doctor who performs abortions be able to admit patients at a nearby hospital."

Teeing up commentary from Davis, Gutierrez worried: "Opponents argue those rules would force thirty-seven of the state's forty-two abortion centers to close." Davis asserted: "Women will lose family planning services and cancer screening services that are being duly provided in a number of these facilities."

Gutierrez made sure to recount Davis's back and forth with Governor Rick Perry and tied it to Perry's Monday announcement that he would not seek a fourth term:

GUTIERREZ: The renewed controversy comes a day after Texas Governor Rick Perry, who had clashed with Davis, a teenage mom herself...

RICK PERRY: She hasn't learned from her own example.

DAVIS: Some of the comments that he made really demeaned the high office that he holds.

GUTIERREZ: ...announced he would not seek re-election following 13 years in office.

Neither ABC's Good Morning America nor CBS This Morning on Tuesday provided coverage of the ongoing effort to pass the Texas legislation.

However, the networks have devoted significant air time to cheering Davis as a liberal hero:

Networks Slam Rick Perry Getting 'Very Personal' With 'Folk Hero' Wendy Davis

Big Three Hype Social Media Sending Pro-Abortion Filibuster Into 'Stratosphere'; Yawn at Gosnell Twitter Firestorm

ABC, CBS & NBC Too Excited by Wendy Davis to Recognize Her Side is Losing Abortion Debate

Networks Still Boosting Wendy Davis' 'Epic' Pro-Abortion Filibuster Almost A Week Later

Run, Wendy, Run! Media Cheers Wendy Davis to Run for Governor

Here is a full transcript of the July 9 Today report from Gutierrez:

8:03AM ET

NATALIE MORALES: The battle over abortion rights is focused on Texas, where a controversial bill that failed last month will be back up for a vote. NBC's Gabe Gutierrez is at the state capitol in Austin. Good morning, Gabe.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Abortion Battle; Controversial Bill Back Up for A Vote]

GABE GUTIERREZ: Natalie, good morning. Testimony here lasted past midnight. Forty years after Roe v. Wade, this has become the epicenter of the national debate over abortion. The Governor has said that mob rule derailed the bill last month, now it's back.

CROWD [PRO-LIFE PROTESTORS]: Pass the bill! Pass the bill!

GUTIERREZ: Today another showdown is expected at the Texas state capitol. After more than a thousand anti-abortion protestors rallied last night.

MIKE HUCKABEE [FMR. GOV. R-AR]: We are the voice of the weak and the vulnerable. Let us stand for life.

GUTIERREZ: The Texas House is scheduled to vote on a controversial bill, banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and mandating that abortion clinics meet the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers. It would also require that a doctor who performs abortions be able to admit patients at a nearby hospital. But opponents argue those rules would force thirty-seven of the state's forty-two abortion centers to close.

WENDY DAVIS [STATE SEN. D-TX]: Women will lose family planning services and cancer screening services that are being duly provided in a number of these facilities.

GUTIERREZ: The renewed controversy comes a day after Texas Governor Rick Perry, who had clashed with Davis, a teenage mom herself...

RICK PERRY: She hasn't learned from her own example.

DAVIS: Some of the comments that he made really demeaned the high office that he holds.

GUTIERREZ: ...announced he would not seek re-election following 13 years in office.

PERRY: Texas is and will remain a strong pro-life, pro-family, pro-freedom state.

GUTIERREZ: The Republican-controlled state house is expected to pass the bill. Supporters say that it will make abortion safer. It is unclear when the state senate will bring it up for a vote, although that could happen later this week. Natalie.

MORALES: Alright, Gabe Gutierrez in Austin, thank you.