Texas' Proposed Abortion Restrictions Took Another Step Toward Passage Last Night
A week after state Senator Wendy Davis power-talked her way into liberal America's heart, reality continued to set in last night in Austin, where a panel of lawmakers approved the same set of abortion restrictions that Davis filibustered, while hundreds of people who registered to testify about the bill were turned away.
WFAA's David Schechter snapped this photo of a pro-life supporter at the Capitol.
The bill, which passed 8-3 along party lines, now moves to the floor of the Texas House. Along with its Senate companion, it would, among other restrictions, outlaw abortions after 20 weeks and require the procedure to be done at surgical clinics, forcing most clinics to close.
Riding the wave first surfed by Davis last week, 3,500 of people descended on the Capitol on Tuesday, hoping to debate the bill over multiple days. But despite more than 1,000 people registering to testify, and over pleas from advocates and lawmakers to extend the debate, House State Affairs Chairman Byron Cook limited testimony to eight hours. Fewer than 100 people got to speak.
"We took testimony in the regular session, in the first special. We've taken a lot of testimony," he said after the vote, according to the Associated Press.
What testimony was allowed lasted until midnight and came from all angles, from pastors to protestors to doctors. It was that last group whom lawmakers may least enjoy hearing from: While the bill purports to protect women's health, it's opposed by The Texas Medical Association, the Texas Hospital Associations and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
"This comes from the politicians, not our profession," an Austin OB-GYN named Bradley Price testified on Tuesday, according to The Dallas Morning News. "It would jeopardize women's health care and interfere with medical practice and patient-physician relationships. It would also close most abortion clinics and would decrease the number of doctors who can provide care."
The House is expected to vote on -- and pass -- the legislation when it returns on Tuesday, July 9.