After debate and discussion that went late into Friday night, the Texas Senate has approved the abortion legislation passed by the state house earlier this week.
The final vote, on the third reading of the bill, was 19-11. It will now head to Governor Rick Perry's desk for his signature. He has already pledged to sign it.
Once signed by Governor Perry, the new law would, among other things, ban abortions after 20 weeks, and only allow abortions only in designated surgical centers.
Out of 42 existing abortion clinics in Texas, only five meet the requirements to be a surgical center without doing any upgrades.
Similar legislation has been passed in Ohio, Wisconsin, Arizona, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Mississippi.
As with the house debate, protestors were very vocal in their support/criticism of the bill.
The Texas Department of Public Safety inspected all bags before crowds could enter the senate gallery. During the inspections, DPS officers discovered at least one jar suspected to contain urine, 18 jars suspected to contain feces, and three bottles suspected to contain paint.
In a statement released just after the vote, Governor Perry said, "Today the TexasLegislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life. Thislegislation builds on the strong and unwavering commitment we have made todefend life and protect women's health. I am proud of our lawmakers, andcitizens who tirelessly defended our smallest and most vulnerable Texans andfuture Texans."
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