Rick Perry signed an abortion bill into Texas law on Thursday. The law will place restrictions on abortion and impose strict standards on doctors and abortion clinics.
Perry’s signature drew applause from anti-abortion groups and Republicans. However, critics contend that Texas now has the most restrictive abortion laws in the entire nation.
As reported by Dallas News, the signing of the bill was expected to cause outrage. Protestors outside the Capital were monitored by numerous state troopers while Perry approved the new legislation.
The bill faltered several times before landing on Perry’s desk. It was denied during the regular session and stalled by filibuster in the first special session. The bill finally passed in the second special session, amid ongoing protests.
The bill was approved by the House and Senate last week.
With the approval of Governor Rick Perry, the abortion law will go into effect in September.
The new Texas abortion law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks, unless the mother’s life is threatened or the fetus is severely disabled. The current law prohibits abortion after 24 weeks.
Use of abortion pills will be prohibited without a doctor’s permission and presence. Morning-after pills, or emergency contraceptives, are not included in this category.
Doctors will not be permitted to perform abortions in their private office, unless they have permission to admit at a hospital within three miles of their office.
The Texas abortion law also requires abortion clinics to upgraded to surgical center standards. This portion of the law will not go into effect until next year.
Clinics will have time to upgrade their facilities. However, many clinic owners and activists are concerned that the upgrades will be cost prohibitive. Critics have estimated that 38 of the state’s 42 clinics will be forced to close.
Supporters of the legislation explained that the Texas abortion law is not about abortion. They contend that their main concern is to protect women’s health. However, some supporters have clearly stated their motivation:
Senator Glenn Hegar stated that the law “will affect and save millions of lives in the future and protect the unborn.”
As reported by CNN, opponents of the Texas abortion law are concerned that the restrictions will close clinics and force women to seek illegal and ultimately dangerous abortions.
As Rick Perry signed the abortion bill, he will likely land in the middle of the continued controversy. However, the backlash will not follow him into the next election. Perry has announced that he has no intention of seeking re-election next year.
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