June 24, 2013

Texas lawmakers advance bill to restrict abortions

By Chris Tomlinson / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Three Democrats joined the Republican majority and voted for the bill 97-33. Protesters jeered their disapproval as security guards ordered them out of the chamber and they regrouped to protest outside.

The Texas Medical Association, the Texas Hospital Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists had sent letters urging lawmakers to vote no on the bill, saying it would not raise the standard of care.

Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, gave a personal privilege speech decrying how the Republicans were manipulating the parliamentary process to rush it to a vote.

"Everything about the process related to these abortion regulation bills has smelled like partisan politics," Farrar said. "Proponents of the bill have failed to demonstrate any evidence that the regulations imposed by these bills are necessary. Nor have they expressed any sign of responsible governance in ensuring that women will continue to be able to access safe and legal abortion care."

Democrats in the Senate said they would try to filibuster the bill if it came to them on Tuesday, which now appears assured.

Gov. Rick Perry added abortion to the special session in the final two weeks, after lawmakers had already taken up redistricting.

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