Health Day - ONLINE EDITION

Texas Lawmakers Pass Strict Abortion Bill

Gov. Rick Perry expected to sign it, creating one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in U.S.

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SATURDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- The Texas state Senate passed an anti-abortion bill considered one of the most restrictive in the country Friday night, and Gov. Rick Perry is expected to sign it into law within a few days.

The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks, hold abortion clinics to the same standards as surgical centers and require doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

The bill was passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in a highly charged atmosphere after heated debate. A previous version of the bill failed in June after an 11-hour filibuster by Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth.

After the first bill failed to pass, Perry, a Republican, called a special session of the Legislature on July 1 to reconsider the measure. On Friday, more than 2,000 demonstrators packed the Capitol building in Austin, the Associated Press reported.

Following passage of the bill, Perry said, "Today, the Texas Legislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life."

Texas medical groups and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have opposed the legislation. In a July 2 statement, ACOG said the effort was "plainly intended to restrict the reproductive rights of women in Texas through a series of requirements that improperly regulate medical practice and interfere with the patient-physician relationship."

Democratic legislators said they would continue to oppose the bill, with a court challenge the likely next step.

More information

For more on abortion visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

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