Texas Abortion Bill: Republican Lawmakers Approve Tough New Restrictions
AUSTIN, Texas — Republicans in the Texas House on Monday passed one of the nation’s most wide-ranging packages of abortion restrictions, but efforts by Democrats to slow the process threatened to kill the measure before the end of the special session.
Democrats stalled the vote as long as possible on the second to last day of the special legislative session, hoping to delay long enough for their colleagues in the Senate to filibuster the bill on Tuesday night.
The proposal would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and limit abortions to surgical centers. Other states have passed similar bills, but few have the full set. Federal judges have thrown out the restrictions in some states.
The measure passed 95-34, with the support of four Democrats, and must now sit for 24 hours before the Senate can vote on it and send it to Gov. Rick Perry.
House Democrats used parliamentary tactics to draw out the debate for 15 hours Sunday night and into Monday morning, pointing out technical mistakes in the process or trying to tack on amendments to fundamentally change the bill. Democrats also showed up more than two hours late Monday morning.
Supporters say the bill would improve women’s health care. Opponents warn it would shut down 37 out of 42 abortion clinics in the state, leaving wide swaths of Texas without access.