By Ben Lane, TSB Staff
After a controversial vote last month, an expansive statewide debate, extensive protests, and the eventual convening of a second special session of the Texas Legislature, Texas is now one signature from Gov. Rick Perry away from enacting some of the toughest abortion laws in the country.
House Bill 2 was passed by the Texas House last Wednesday and passed by the Texas Senate on Friday. HB2 is now awaiting Governor Perry’s signature. Perry is expected to sign HB2 into law on Thursday morning. Once signed into law, HB2 will bring sweeping changes to Texas’ abortion clinics.
HB2 bans abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, requires abortion clinics to become ambulatory surgical centers, tightens the usage guidelines for the drug RU486 and requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic at which they’re providing abortion services.
Similar legislation failed to pass in the Texas Senate last month after a marathon filibuster from Fort Worth’s Sen. Wendy Davis prevented a vote from happening before the first special session expired. Gov. Perry quickly called a second session and the legislation passed in the Texas Senate by a 19-11 vote.
McKinney’s Senator Ken Paxton was a cosponsor of HB2 and told TownSquareBuzz.com that the passage of HB2 “marks an important victory for both women and the unborn.” Paxton also said, “I am proud the Texas Senate passed HB 2, which will protect the rights of unborn children and ensure women are given the highest standard of health care during abortion procedures.
“It was an honor to work with both House and Senate members and the thousands of pro-life supporters from around the state to make sure this legislation made it to the Governor’s desk.”
McKinney’s Representative Scott Sanford shared Paxton’s opinion about the provisions of HB2 and their ability to help protect women’s health. “With the passage of H.B.2, Texas eliminated late term abortions for pre-born children who are older than five months. Additionally we enhanced the quality of care for women who choose to terminate a pregnancy,” Sanford told TSB.
“This legislation is important to protect two populations of people,” Sanford said. “One is the unborn. Technology proves they feel pain in the womb. This legislation gives them a voice and protection. It also creates a safer environment for the women who seek an abortion.”