Texas abortion bill approved, protesters arrested

UPDATE: In the final minutes of Friday night, the Texas Senate passed House Bill No. 2 in a 19-11 vote. The passage followed approximately eleven hours of debate. At least ten protesters were arrested in the process. The bill will go to Governor Perry's desk for his signature before becoming law.

AUSTIN (KYTX) -- At least 7 people were arrested at the capitol in Austin Friday night during protests of the controversial abortion bill debated by the Senate.  The protestors appeared to be dressed as women who had experienced abortions.  That came after a day of DPS seizing props troopers feared could have disrupted legislative proceedings. Those included feminine hygiene products and bottles of urine and feces.

House Bill 2 would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and place tougher restrictions on abortion clinics which many opponents fear would force most clinics in the state to shut down.  It would also require women to take abortion related drugs at the clinic instead of at home.

Supporters dressed in blue and opponents dressed in orange packed the capitol all day chanting and rallying to swing members of the Texas Senate in their direction. 

Republican state senators shot down amendments proposed by Democrats and debated into the night as protests continued.  The Republican-controlled Senate is expected to pass the bill and send it to Governor Rick Perry's desk.  But some pro-choice supporters plan to file an appeal if the bill is passed.

You can read the Texas Department of Public Safety's entire release on confiscation of items here. 

Texas Department of Public Safety:

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) today received information that individuals planned to use a variety of items or props to disrupt legislative proceedings at the Texas Capitol. 

Therefore for safety purposes, DPS recommended to the State Preservation Board that all bags be inspected prior to allowing individuals to enter the Senate gallery, which the State Preservation Board authorized. 

During these inspections, DPS officers have thus far discovered one jar suspected to contain urine, 18 jars suspected to contain feces, and three bottles suspected to contain 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. 

In the interest of the safety and security of Texas legislators and the general public, these inspections will continue until the conclusion of Senate business.


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