Texas moves forward with ban on abortion after 20 weeks

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The Republican-dominated Texas Legislature cut off debate and passed tough abortion restrictions early Monday over the objections of nearly 800 demonstrators who packed halls of the Capitol.

The bill bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and requires the procedure to be performed in surgical centers only, The Associated Press reported. It also mandates that all doctors who perform the procedure must be allowed to practice at nearby hospitals.

Supporters see the measure as a means of ensuring that women receive the best care. Opponents say the bill will shut down 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics.

“If this passes, abortion would be virtually banned in the state of Texas, and many women could be forced to resort to dangerous and unsafe measures,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in the AP report.

Democrats tried to draw out discussion of the bill, but Republicans, after 15 hours of debate, passed a motion to force a vote, AP reported. Lawmakers — including three Democrats — passed the bill 93-33, and it now heads to the Senate for debate.

Senate Democrats have vowed to filibuster, AP reported.

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