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Perry signs abortion bill into law

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(Stuart Clark/CNN) (Stuart Clark/CNN)

By CNN Political Unit

Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a controversial bill into law Thursday that places broad new restrictions on abortions in the state.

House Bill 2, which drew angry rallies during debate in the state legislature, was signed into law amid chants of "shame" from protesters in the hallway, and applause of supporters in the room.

"In signing House Bill 2 today we...cement the culture of life which Texas is built upon," Perry said. "Children do deserve the respect of simple recognition before their lives are cut tragically short."

The bill originally failed to gain approval because of a Democratic filibuster led by state Sen. Wendy Davis. Perry called the legislature into a second special session to continue consideration of the bill.

The bill passed the state House and state Senate last week.

The measure bans abortions past 20 weeks of gestation, mandates abortion clinics become ambulatory surgical centers, tightens usage guidelines for the drug RU486 and requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic at which they're providing such services.

Critics of the measure say it would shut down most abortion clinics in Texas -- denying access to many in rural communities -- and force women to seek dangerous back-alley abortions.

The Republican legislators who support it say the bill isn't about banning abortions, but rather about protecting women's health.

Perry, who was a big voice in support of the bill, announced earlier this month that he will not seek re-election next year.

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