NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Just minutes ago Governor Rick Perry signed into law a piece of legislation that will make abortions after 20 weeks illegal and essentially will shutter the doors of almost every abortion clinic in Texas.
While the governor's support of House Bill 2 has been very public, today's signing ceremony was limited to lawmakers and invited guests.
The abortion restrictions have been the center of attention for weeks. During the first Legislative Special Session Fort Worth Senator Wendy Davis laced up pink tennis shoes and attempted a 13-hour filibuster on what was then Senate Bill 5.
Davis held her own for more than 11 hours before Republicans cited rules violations and brought her marathon speaking session to an end, but chanting crowds in the gallery cried out in opposition. Noise from the crowd ultimate prevented senators ability to vote, ran out the clock, and caused the bill to die.
Just days later Perry called a second Special Session giving legislators another chance to pass the restrictive bill now presented as House Bill 2. Thousands of people flocked to the Texas State Capitol, in protest and support, and signed up to testify before the State House Affairs Committee. Ultimately only a few hundred were allowed to speak. The committee approved bill, by a margin of 8-3.
In addition to the 20-week abortion rule, the law requires that physicians performing abortions have privileges at a nearby hospital, that abortion facilities meet ambulatory surgical center standards and restricts use of the abortion inducing drug RU-486.
Of the 42 abortion clinics currently operation in Texas only five meet the new requirements.
Governor Perry has said the legislation protects women's health and the rights of the unborn.
The new law goes into effect in October.