Texas House debates tighter state abortion restrictions late int - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Texas House debates tighter state abortion restrictions late into Sunday night


Hundreds of demonstrators descended upon the Texas Capitol today, protesting legislation that would tighten state restrictions on abortions.

Supporters argue the bills are about women's safety, but opponents contend that they instead infringes on women's rights.

House bill 60 and Senate bill 5 would ban most abortions after 20 weeks, require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, require clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center standards and raise requirements for doctors administrating abortion inducing drugs.

Planned Parenthood said the rules would close all but five clinics in  Texas.

"This is bringing more people to the Capitol than any other bill we've seen," said State Representative Matt Schaefer. "People have very strong feelings about it. I had to push my way through people to get to the house floor today."

Schaefer was one of 64 house members to petition Governor Perry to add the bill to the special session three weeks ago.

"We have to do everything we can to make sure that when they are performed, that if the child can feel pain, they are protected from that," he said. "The clinics where they are performed must meet the highest standards for women involved."

But Smith County Democrat Organizer Yolanda Prince does not buy that argument.

"That's just rhetoric that they're using to try and make it seem like all abortion clinics are unsafe," she said. "If they were unsafe, a lot of them would be closed right now."

Opponents in the House called the bill overreaching.

"This is a constitutional matter," said State Representative Jessica Farrar. "I try to speak their language. Imagine if this was the second amendment. It's on that level to other folks, even if you can't understand that."

Prince believe it is a decision that should be left to women.

"I don't think that republicans should make this choice for them," Prince said. "Especially when it's predominantly men making the choice for women, because women today can definitely make their own decision."

Legislators continued debating the bills late Sunday night.

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