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Texas House Gives Final Approval Of Abortion Bill

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio
TPR News

The Texas House has approved HB 2, the controversial abortion bill, on a vote of 98 to 49 without the addition of any amended changes.

The bill now heads to a Senate committee and a final vote on the bill is expected during the early part of next week.

The bill will ban abortion after 20 weeks and mandates that all clinics be upgraded to ambulatory surgical centers and have a doctor on staff that has admitting privileges at a hospital no more than 30 miles away. It also calls for doctors to follow all the FDA guideline for the drug RU-486.

"You know, there are so many different ways that it can take effect and I’m sure when the governor signs it it becomes law, then you will probably have several groups that will go to the court, trying to put a strain on it. Whether that happens, that’s up to the judges," said Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Murphy, who authored the bill.

During the seconds reading of the bill this morning, both Democrats and some Republicans proposed adding and/or striking language in the current bill that many say will immediately lead the State of Texas back to a federal courtroom.

Towards the end of the debate, Democrats like Rep. Sylvester Turner of Houston had grown tired of a Republican mantra about the intrusion of big government.

"Don't tell me this is not government in its most rawest sense of the word. Whether you are a conservative or not, this is big government. This is the state of Texas telling people number one, 'You must bare,' and telling businesses, 'You must do,' and telling hospitals, 'You must, in a sense, grant admitting privileges,'" Turner said.

Turner vowed to vote for the bill if Republicans would allow him to add an amendment that provides abortion clinics with $1.4 million dollars to curb the cost of making every facility an ambulatory surgical center.

But after all was said and done, the bill was passed.

"House Bill 2 focuses on both the child and the woman," Laubenberg said. "I thank you all for being here, speaking out and doing what’s right and I move passage, thank you."

Laubenberg disputes clinic claims that they will not be able to afford the mandates in her bill.

"They have until September 2014 and I bet you 10-1 they will change their position on that as time goes by," she said.

Immediately following the final vote in the House, several abortion-rights supporters began yelling from the House Gallery.

"Five demonstrators decided they could interrupt our business and we don’t allow that and they’ve gone to jail," said Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, who heads up the House Administration Committee that oversees the rules of the House chamber.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.