Omar Villafranca, NBC 5 News
The Texas House has approved new abortion limits less than two weeks after Senate Republicans failed to finish work on the bill amid a filibuster and raucous protests. A final vote could be held as early as Friday in the Senate, where the measure died as the first special session expired. Republicans say they're ready to fight.
The Texas House passed new restrictions on when, how and where women may get an abortion.
Lawmakers voted on Wednesday in a final step sending House Bill 2 to the Senate. The bill gained provisional approval late Tuesday night. A Senate committee will consider the measure on Thursday as it works its way to becoming law.
As the votes were counted, at least four demonstrators were removed by Department of Public Safety officers for disrupting proceedings.
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.
Gov. Rick Perry and top Republican leaders have made passing the bill their signature legislation going into the 2014 elections. Democrats oppose the measure and protesters have called it a thinly disguised attempt to ban abortion. Supporters say it protects the health of women and babies.
Gov. Rick Perry released the following statement after the bill was passed in the House:
“The tremendous outpouring of support for this legislation has demonstrated how Texas stands for life, and I commend everyone who wore blue, turned out and spoke up in support of life in our state. Now is not the time to waver, however, as the Senate continues its important work in support of women's health and protecting the lives of our most vulnerable Texans.”
Texas Senator Ted Cruz released the following statement after the bill was passed in the House:
House Bill 2 is an important step that will strengthen protections of innocent, unborn life and improve the safety and health of Texas women. I hope the Texas Senate will take swift action to pass this legislation for the good of all Texas children and their mothers.
Our nation was founded on the principle that we are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights – among them, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. America’s founders knew that life comes first. Without life, there is no liberty; without life, there is no pursuit of happiness.
I am incredibly thankful for and proud of the principled leaders in our Texas Legislature and the many Texas groups who have brought this issue to the forefront, refusing to give up on this important legislation.