The Texas House of Representatives has approved abortion bill HB2 by a vote of 98-49. Gov. Rick Perry called lawmakers back to Austin for a special session to reconsider the bill after state Senator Wendy Davis’ 11-hour filibuster succeeded in preventing the bill’s passage in June.
HB2 mandates numerous restrictions on abortion, including a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Planned Parenthood issued a statement saying that the strict regulations the bill places on abortion clinics would cause all but six of the 42 clinics in Texas to shut down.
Nearly 300 Department of Public Safety officers were on hand as vocal pro-life and pro-choice demonstrators surrounded the capitol during the deliberations. Rosaries and crucifixes could be seen alongside bikinis and body paint. Shouts and chants intermingled with Hail Marys.
A final vote on the bill is expected to come tomorrow, and is needed from the house in order to move the bill to the senate. Should the legislation move forward, the Republican-controlled senate will likely vote on the bill early next week, then pass the bill to Gov. Perry for his signature.
Texas would join Ohio and Wisconsin as states curtailing abortion activities. Ohio recently implemented more rigid requirements on abortion-seekers as well as on providers, and defunded Planned Parenthood. Wisconsin likewise tightened regulations and passed a law requiring women to undergo a pre-abortion ultrasound.