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article imageGovernor Rick Perry signs Texas abortion bill into law

By Layne Weiss     Jul 19, 2013 in Politics
Following weeks of heated protests, Texas Governor Rick Perry has signed one of the most restrictive abortion bills ever in the United States.
The law is expected to drastically reduce the number of abortion access across Texas, the Huff Post reports.
Supporters prayed and critics chanted "Shame!" at the ceremony where the bill was signed into law, BBC News reports.
Governor Perry signed the law six months after proclaiming his goal to make abortion at any stage "a thing of the past," The New York Times reports. Women's rights advocates have vowed to challenge the law's legality in court.
Perry said signing the law was the celebration of cementing "the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built upon."
The law could force most abortion clinics in Texas to close, BBC News reports.
Under the law, abortions can only be performed at surgical centers by doctors with hospital admitting services.
Only five of the 42 clinics in Texas meet that criteria.
The rest will have a year to upgrade their facilities to meet their requirements or be forced to shut down after the law takes effect in October.
Governor Perry and other republicans said the law will improve patient safety and hold abortion clinics to safer standards, The New York Times reports. Opponents called it an "unconstitutional attack" on legal abortion in Texas and that many of the restrictions were found to be medically unwarranted by physician groups.
The measure, called House Bill 2, bans abortion 20 weeks after fertilization, the Huff Post reports. That's four weeks earlier than the benchmark set by Roe V Wade.
State Senator Wendy Davis (D) staged a filibuster last month of an earlier version of the bill during the first special session of the legislature, the Huff Post reports. Senator Davis's filibuster prevented Senate republicans from passing the law, but the governor called a second session.
"When governor Perry signed the bill, he signaled a clear break with Texas families," Davis said in a statement. "Governor Perry and other state leaders have now taken sides and chosen narrow partisan special interests over mothers, daughters, sisters. and every Texan who puts the health of their family, the well-being of their neighbors, and the future of Texas ahead of politics and personal ambitions."
"The fight over this law will move to the courts, while the bigger fight for women's access to health care in Texas gains steam," said Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Cecil is the daughter of former Texas Governor Ann Richards. "People are enraged by this law and it has created a whole new generation of activists who are in it for the long run to elect leaders who will protect women's health," Richards said in a statement according to The New York Times.
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