AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed sweeping new abortion restrictions on Thursday that could shutter most of the state’s clinics that provide the procedure, a final step for the Republican-backed measure after weeks of sometimes raucous protests at the state Capitol.

Supporters credited God’s will and prayer as the governor signed the legislation, with protesters’ chants of “Shame! Shame! Shame!” echoing from the hallway. Opponents have vowed to fight the law, though no court challenges were immediately filed.

“Today, we celebrate the further cementing of the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built upon,” Perry told an auditorium full of beaming GOP lawmakers and anti-abortion activists. “It is our responsibility and duty to give voice to the unborn individuals.”

FIGHT ‘WILL MOVE TO THE COURTS’

The law restricts abortions to surgical centers and requires doctors who work at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges. Only five of the 42 abortion clinics in Texas — the nation’s second-largest state — currently meet those new requirements. Clinics will have a year to either upgrade their facilities or shut down after the law takes effect in October.

The law also bans abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, based on the disputed notion that fetuses can feel pain at that point of development, and dictates when abortion-inducing drugs can be taken.

Supporters argue the new law will ensure high-quality health care for women, but opponents view it as over-regulation intended to make abortions harder to obtain.

Similar measures in other states have been blocked by federal judges, and opponents in Texas said they’ll pursue a similar course.

“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,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement.

The action fund is the political arm of Planned Parenthood, which announced later Thursday that it would close its clinics in Bryan, Huntsville and Lufkin by the end of August. The group cited years of state budget cuts to women’s health programs, not the new law. Only the Bryan facility offers abortions.

A FILIBUSTER, THEN FINAL APPROVAL

Perry and other top Republican leaders made passing the law a top priority, in part to please the most conservative wing of the party before the primary election in March.

After the regular legislative session ended May 27, Perry added passing the abortion measure to lawmakers’ agenda for a 30-day special session. But on the last day to pass bills, Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis staged a more than 12-hour, one-woman filibuster hoping to talk past a midnight deadline and kill the legislation.

Republicans used parliamentary objections to silence Davis, but just before midnight hundreds of bill opponents in the Senate gallery screamed and cheered so loudly that all work stopped on the Senate floor below until it was too late. It launched Davis into an overnight political sensation.

But Perry called lawmakers back for a second special session — setting up the bill’s final approval last week.