Texas House tentatively passes restrictive abortion measure
Opponents of the abortion bill walk in circles around supporters of the bill as a committee holds hearings on the bill at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday, July 2.
July 9th, 2013
09:52 PM ET
9 years ago

Texas House tentatively passes restrictive abortion measure

Austin, Texas (CNN) – The Texas House of Representatives tentatively approved a measure Tuesday that would place broad new restrictions on abortions in the state, paving the way for the contentious legislation to become law.

H.B. 2 cleared the lower chamber 98-49 after hours of debate over proposed amendments. A final vote on the bill in the House will take place Wednesday. The Texas Senate is debating a similar measure.

The measure seeks to ban abortions past 20 weeks of gestation, mandate abortion clinics to become ambulatory surgical centers, tighten usage guidelines for the drug RU486, and require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic at which they're providing abortion services.

Critics said the measure would shut down most abortion clinics in Texas, denying access to many in rural communities, and force women to seek dangerous back alley abortions. Many Democrats, like Rep. Mary Gonzales, felt the motives for the legislation were less than pure.

"Is this bill more about women's health or political futures?" she asked Tuesday.

But for Republicans like Rep. Jason Villalba, the bill’s passage was intensely personal. Holding up a sonogram of his 13-week-old son, he voiced his support.

"I will fight, and I will fight, and I will fight to protect my baby,” he said.

Proponents say that the bill is necessary to raise the standard of care for women in Texas and will protect 20-week-old babies at the point that they begin to have the ability to feel pain.

Initially, the House bill restricting abortions failed after a day and night of drama in which state Sen. Wendy Davis talked for more than 10 hours in an attempt to run out the clock on the legislative session.

But Gov. Rick Perry called a special session so the legislature could take up the measure again.

On Tuesday, Davis conceded to CNN the abortion legislation was likely to pass this time around.

"It will be very difficult because unfortunately the voices that have been here crying out against this bill are not going to be heard," Davis told CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta in a brief interview.

"But I don't think it's the end. It's the beginning of a battle line," she added.

Filed under: Abortion • Texas
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. ChrisM

    But as most in the legal profession know, if this anti-abortion bill becomes law, it will be overturned in court as will all the other anti-abortion bills in the red states.

    July 9, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  2. S. B. Stein

    Did this bill increase the funds to medical facilities to make sure that these women can carry these children term safely? Are there ways to make sure that these children are going to be adopted or make sure that the women who keep the children can afford medical care and food? If there aren't these provisions, then this bill wasn't fully thought through.

    July 9, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  3. rs

    The GOP in Texas is slitting its own throat. All they need to do in this case to make things better is to have another neanderthal discussion about rape.

    July 9, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Windy for Governor !

    July 9, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  5. Joshua

    The bill restricts abortions after 20 weeks, when a baby can feel pain. Most civilized countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, New Zealand etc... ban it before that. There is an exception for real health emergencies but obviously there are woman ( not a HUGE number but enough) having late term abortions on healthy children or else 99% of the world would not be banning them.

    July 9, 2013 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    Rep. Jason Villalba: Typical Repub, implying that pro-choice means people going around forcing women to have abortions, so he feels the need to hold up a sonogram. What an ass.

    July 9, 2013 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  7. Rose

    Oh I'm so glad this passed, because who in the world would want to kill a baby that's 5 months or more into a pregnancy? Hopefully with the new measures for the clinics if will end so many women that go into trauma or die during abortions and force doctors to be held accountable. It will stop doctors such as Kermit Gosnell who aborted live babies and killed them when he took them out by cutting their spinal cord, evil.

    July 10, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  8. Robert Morales

    At least it's not like they're going to abandon the forced birth child once it's born. They're going to allocate additional resources to social wellfare programs and increase funding to public schools. . . oh wait, that's what someone that honestly believes that all life is precious, oops, my bad.... smh

    July 10, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  9. California

    Democrats are wanting to abort a child up to their first birthday.

    July 10, 2013 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  10. Lee

    We will appeal.

    July 10, 2013 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  11. MaryM

    Roe v. Wade involves significant compromise between the rights of the mother over medical decisions concerning her body, and the responsibility of government to allow protections for the fetus as it develops. That's why the Supreme Court designated a 24-week limit on abortions, except in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother. Most pro-birth (not pro-life) conservatives aren't at all interested in recognizing this common sense solution, but would rather eliminate all possibility of abortion ever, putting the blame solely on the woman for an unintended pregnancy. Also, who are you to judge my moral standing? I believe it's moral to not bring a fetus full term if a woman isn't able or willing to provide for its emotional, medical and financial needs for at least 18 years. I think it's moral to stay out of other people's legally protected business. I think it's moral to stand up to those who would impose their rigid religious beliefs and requirements on me, when I do not share the tenants of that faith.

    July 10, 2013 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  12. just me

    To that idiot R state rep, nobody wants to hurt your baby. They just want to protect their rights from the idealogues and panderers such as yourself.

    July 10, 2013 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  13. Chris

    SELFISH Reasons women get abortion and Murder their unborn Child. One It is my Body lets see their is another Body growing in You. You are not stable financially. The father does not want it

    July 10, 2013 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  14. vikingwoman

    Villalba will fight, fight, fight to protect his child? Huh? Was his baby in danger of being aborted against Villalba's will? Of course not! So why is this man fighting to stop other women, men, couples & families from having freedom of choice & will to plan their own families? Villalba's arguement makes no sense! No reasonable person has a problem w/a cutoff at 20 weeks, except in case of emergency, but the intrusion of expensive mandatory sonograms & un-necessary regulations is just a blatant attempt to make legal abortions history, in the disguise of "protecting womens health"! I hope what's happening in Wisconsin will happen in Texas! The GOTP's agenda is very unconsti.tutional, invasive, intrusive & insulting! Women AND men should worry about these rulings! Outlaw legal abortion & birthcontrol will be next! The extreme fundie right has already been exempt from providing it to their female employees, in the guise of "religious freedom"! Talk about "slippery slope"!!

    July 10, 2013 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  15. Debbie

    Totalitarian regime. Forced reproduction, forced medical business laws, forced control over peoples bodies. Totalitarian regime.

    July 10, 2013 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  16. Gwiz

    What a sham. now whos big government? lets list perrys screw ups. obama wins election perry wants texas to secede. then he carries the party line up until he dropped out that we need to limit big government. "stop obamacare its not the federal governments responsibility to dictate healthcare to americans" now hes gone and made it harder for women to get an abortion even before 20 weeks by passing ridiculous restrictions he needs to read ROE v WADE abortion is legal and cannot be restricted hopefully at least one judge in texas is partially sane a issue an injunction on the restrictions half of this bill and a reminder women who have abortions after 20 weeks make up 1% of all abortions and 99% of those are because the mothers life is in danger. so think about that.

    July 10, 2013 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  17. Marie MD

    Tntatively? They are passing the same bill Davis filibustered two weeks ago. They are closing most of the abortion clinics in Texas and they are also leaving hundreds, if not thousands of women, without healthcare.
    Why are rethugs so afraid of women? I hope whatever their fear is comes true for them starting in 2014 and forward!

    July 10, 2013 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  18. Guess

    This is a blueprint for the voter restriction acts nationally, give alame excuse and then bulldoze your every whim through, hint, thats what got the gop elected in 2010, and look at em go. time to dump the sellfserving trash at the curb. the gop has nothing for the working class, absolutely nothing

    July 10, 2013 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  19. Virginia

    I am so thankful that the people I voted in to represent my district have voted the way that the majority of Texans wish them to have voted.

    July 10, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  20. rs

    Democrats are wanting to abort a child up to their first birthday.
    I think you'll find your assessment is incorrect- at issue is that the Texas law regulates the closure of all but 5 women's health clinics in Texas- surely even you can see there are far reaching consequences to that idiocy than hurling insults at people of an illegal (by court decisions) 20 week bans.

    July 10, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  21. davehhds

    Texas has many neanderthal laws....maybe they should secede from the USA...then we can build a wall at their border.

    July 10, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  22. Dar

    You can call abortion what ever you want to call it, BUT killing is killing and you get to live with that for the rest of your life knowing that you killed a living human being. Perhaps even a baby that could have been the President some day. Crap, just look at Odumbo, that abortion made it all the way to the top.

    July 10, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  23. Truth

    This bill will address some of the medical social justice needed to upgrade low-resource abortion clinics because abortions are potentially high-risk services. This will help Texas Women that have abortion complications.

    July 10, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  24. rs


    This bill will address some of the medical social justice needed to upgrade low-resource abortion clinics because abortions are potentially high-risk services. This will help Texas Women that have abortion complications.
    SURE IT WILL. By leaving only 5 women's clinics for the entire state of Texas? That "improves" anything? Republicans are simply delusional.

    July 10, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  25. vikingwoman

    @Virginia, have you taken a poll recently? Did you see the picture of the capitol building jam packed, inside & out, w/people Opposing this GOTP governmental intrusion into our personal & private business? Seems you're simply repeating the GOTP mantra "we're doing what the people of Texas want us to do," because you agree! There are many Texans, of which I'm 1, who strongly disagree w/this type of GOTP over reach! The kicker is that they are also closing an alarming number of clinics, where a working class pregnant woman can get affordable prenatal care! Simply because the clinic might also provide abortion services to those who Choose to end a pregnancy! I find that to be a travesty, not to mention, unconsti.tutional!!

    July 10, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |