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What's Next For Abortion Bill?

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:14 PM CDT
A major milestone at the Capitol as a late night vote pushes proposed abortion restrictions one step closer to possibly becoming a reality in Texas.

The House vote on HB 2 took place just before 9 p.m. Tuesday, as lawmakers gave provisional approval to the bill. If passed into law, HB 2 would require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, only allow abortions in surgical centers, dictate when abortion pills are taken, and ban abortions after 20 weeks.

While Wednesday is expected to be much quieter, those on the pro-life side are calling for supporters to come out to the Capitol ahead of Wednesday's final House vote and looming battle in the Senate.

After more than 10 hours of debate, the House is now just a few short hours away from a third and final vote on House Bill 2. Members of the Republican-led House gave the green light 98-49, largely along party lines.

"I'm proud of who we are as a state and for the step that we have taken to protect both babies and women," said Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker), HB 2 author, after the vote.

Meanwhile Democrats expressed concerns over the bill, especially for victims of rape and incest.

"I think this bill sets us back a tremendous, tremendous step back into the dark ages," said Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston).

If passed on third reading, the bill then makes its way to the Senate. The Senate's version of the bill, SB 1, has been set for a hearing with the Health and Human Services Committee Thursday morning at 9:15 a.m.

On Monday and Tuesday, that same committee took written or verbal testimony from more than 3,800 people, with just over half opposed to the bill, but did not take a vote.

"There won't be any more public testimony, but this committee will have I'm sure some very lengthy discussions about the bill," said Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), the committee chair.

If the committee passes SB 1, the bill then heads to the full Senate floor. What's Next For Abortion Bill?

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