AUSTIN, Texas – The Texas House on Tuesday night provisionally approved tough new abortion restrictions, making good on a third attempt to pass the measure this year.
Activists on both sides of the issue from across the state and nation descended on the Capitol building, and the demonstrators erupted into screams, cheers and chants immediately following the vote.
Lawmakers debated for more than 10 hours Tuesday, before voting on the Republicans’ signature legislation. They approved the bill mainly along party lines.
A final, formal vote is scheduled for today. The measure will then go to the Senate, where the Republican majority is also expected to approve the bill.
The bill would require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, only allow abortions in surgical centers, dictate when abortion pills are taken and ban abortions after 20 weeks. Exceptions to the ban would only be allowed when the women’s life was in imminent danger.
Democrats and women’s rights activists have protested the bill for weeks. The measure failed to win enough support during the regular session, then died in the first special session due to a 13-hour filibuster by state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Fort Worth Democrat.
Republican leaders, including Gov. Rick Perry, are intent on passing it quickly through the Republican-controlled Legislature in a second special session.