Texas passes abortion bill that bans most terminations after 20 weeks of pregnancy despite Wendy Davis' filibuster

Republican Governor Rick Perry certain to sign, disregarding historic 11-hour speech by Senator Wendy Davis

Texas' Republican-controlled Senate has voted to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, ending a high-profile political battle that stirred debate over abortion rights across the world.

The bill to restrict abortions will now be passed to Republican Governor Rick Perry, having been already approved by the House. Perry is certain to sign it and had called a second special session of the legislature to get it through.

Texas will become the 13th US state to pass a 20-week ban. The 20-week limit is based on disputed research suggesting foetuses feel pain at that point in a pregnancy. Current limits are 26 weeks in the state.

Angry protesters yelled and chanted outside the chamber as the Senate passed the measure late on Friday by a vote of 19 to 11 in front of a full public gallery.

The issue has drawn huge international attention, largely due to the 11-hour filibuster in June against the bill by Democrat state Senator Wendy Davis. Davis was watched by hundreds crowded into the building whilst the rest of the world took to social media to praise and criticise her all-day speech.

The Texas measure would change standards for abortion clinics that opponents say would cause dozens of the facilities to shut down, forcing Texans to turn to illegal and dangerous methods.

"This bill is creating a situation where women in Texas today not only will not be made safer but they will absolutely be at risk of their health," said Davis.

The bill will require doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic when performing an abortion. Supporters of that provision said it was important in case complications arose during a procedure and the woman needed to be hospitalized.

The Texas legislation also calls for stricter guidelines for how doctors administer abortion-inducing drugs, such as the regimen known as RU-486.

Despite political support in Texas for the bill, there could be legal hurdles. Courts have blocked the ban in three of the 12 states that passed it, and opponents of the Texas bill vowed to challenge the decision in court.

"Let's draw the line and not torture these babies that are aborted," Republican family physician Senator Bob Deuell said during Friday's nine-hour debate.

Thousands of activists for and against the bill gathered at the state capitol this summer for rallies and marches and to testify at public hearings.

The pink granite statehouse was full on Friday. Texans opposed to the bill wore orange and held signs that said: "My body, my choice". Those supporting the bill wore blue, some carrying Bibles and crosses and holding signs with slogans such as "unborn babies feel pain."

Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America said: "What happened here tonight is going to fast-forward change in Texas in the long run, but unfortunately a lot of women will suffer in the process."

Perry called lawmakers back to Austin for a second special session to reconsider the proposal after Davis's successful filibuster, and this time lawmakers were not fighting the clock. The second special session began 1 July and could last up to 30 days.

"Today the Texas legislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life," he said in a statement.

The Texas Department of Public Safety increased security for Friday's debate, searching bags of everyone who entered the Senate gallery. The department said officers found 18 jars containing what appeared to be feces, one jar suspected of containing urine and three bottles of what they believed to be paint.

"All of these items - as well as significant quantities of feminine hygiene products, glitter and confetti possessed by individuals - were required to be discarded; otherwise those individuals were denied entry into the gallery," the department said in a statement.

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Travel
Suite dreams: the JW Marriott in Venice
travelChic new hotels in 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect