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Senate gives final approval to abortion bill


The Texas Senate approved a sweeping overhaul of the state’s abortion restrictions late Friday night, with a vote of 19-11, thus clearing the way for the measure to be signed by Gov. Rick Perry.

The bill would ban abortion past 20 weeks after conception. Current federal law draws the line at 24 weeks.

The measure would require abortions to be performed in ambulatory surgical centers. Six of the 42 facilities currently performing abortions in Texas are ambulatory surgical centers. Facilities not meeting the standards would have one year to make the upgrades outlined under new law.

The bill would also require doctors performing abortions to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of the abortion facility and would require doctors administering the drug RU-486 to do so in person.

The measure was authored by Collin County’s Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, and was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy.

Should the bill become law, Texas will become the eighth state to ban abortion after 20 weeks and the 30th to require abortions to be performed in ambulatory surgical centers.

“This is not just happening in Texas, but all across the country in state after state,” Laubenberg said on Tuesday.

No facilities in Northeast Texas provide abortions. The closest abortion providers are located in Dallas.