Texas House Approves Abortion Law 98-49
After hours of debate and unsuccessful attempts by Democrats to offer amendments, the Texas House passed a bill which would limit abortions in the state after 20 weeks and put in place additional regulations on clinics.
Debate over the bill took roughly ten hours with Democrats offering multiple amendments, none of which succeeded. Activists were inside the building but, unlike the previous attempt to pass the bill in the Senate, were not allowed to disrupt the proceedings. Dozens of state police were on hand to insure regular order was maintained.
A final vote in the House is expected to take place Wednesday and then the bill will return to the Senate where it previously died after a 12 hour filibuster by State Senator Wendy Davis. If passed by both houses, Texas would become the 12th state to restrict abortion to no more than 20 weeks.
In addition to the 20-week limit, the bill also requires that facilities offering surgical abortions be regulated as ambulatory surgical centers. Other states, including Pennsylvania and Virginia, have passed similar requirements in the wake of the Gosnell case. In that case a grand jury found that failure to regulate clinics in Pennsylvania led to the horrible conditions at Gosnell's clinic and probably contributed to the death of at least one adult woman, Karnamaya Mongar.
While the bill was being debated in the House, Sen. Davis made a speech in Houston in which she praised the "people's filibuster" which previously prevented passage of the bill in the Senate. She also attempted to move beyond this one issue to a broader agenda. It sounded like the speech of someone thinking about a run for higher office. Gov. Rick Perry announced yesterday that he would not be running for another term in office.