Photo: Texas Capitol building
The Texas Senate has passed a bill tightening restictions on abortion following three weeks of protests by activists and groups defending a woman’s right to choose.
The state’s upper house voted 19-11 in favor of the bill that imposes such strict legal requirements on the 42 abortion clinics in Texas that only five of them comply.
The legislation passed late Friday also bans abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy, only allows it to be practiced in surgical centers and limits where and when women can take pills to induce abortion.
“Today the Texas legislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life. This legislation builds on the strong and unwavering commitment we have made to defend life and protect women’s health,” Republican Gov. Rick Perry said in a communique after the vote.
The bill now goes to Perry for his signature.
Republicans used their majority to pass the bill almost three weeks after Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis filibustered to block it and after an interruption on the floor of the upper house by groups of activists.
Democrats have promised they will file suit against the content of the new Texas legislation, the latest to tighten restrictions on abortion and that joins those already approved in Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Alabama, Kansas, Wisconsin and Arizona.
Democratic lawmakers introduced amendments to add exceptions in cases of rape and incest, to allow doctors to use their medical judgment in prescribing abortion-inducing drugs, and to eliminate the most restrictive articles, but Republicans rejected all the changes proposed.