Texas House passes abortion restriction bill

Abortion restriction bill

The Texas House passed Texas Senate Bill 5 on Monday morning, a pro-life bill which Republicans said will improve safety standards for abortion providers.

In a last minute sprint before the end of a special legislative session, Republicans in Austin are trying to pass some of the strictest abortion laws in the country, but pro-choice advocates are fighting back.

Hundreds of protestors showed up to the capitol in Austin this weekend to protest the Republican backed Senate Bill five.

"They tried to sneak it through when they thought no one was watching," Texas Democratic party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa said.

The bill aims to do four things, prohibit abortions after 20 weeks, and require abortions to be performed in surgical centers, increase restrictions on abortion inducing drugs and require doctors performing abortions to be accredited at a hospital within 30 miles of where they are performing an abortion.

If passed, Hinojosa said only five abortion clinics in the entire state would stay open, closing all in of them in the Valley, including Reproductive Services of Harlingen that performs as many as 30 abortions a week.

Something pro-life advocates Leo Lopez and Martin Leal are celebrating.

"It's still murder, you're killing a living thing," Lopez said.

"At 20 weeks a child already feels pain," Leal said.

Calling it unconstitutional, Hinojosa said it will accomplish nothing and cost the taxpayer money.

"It's going to cost the taxpayers of the state of Texas millions of dollars in legal fees in defending what is clearly an unconstitutional law, Hinojosa said.

Lopez and Leal are in the process of opening a pregnancy center in Brownsville to give expecting mothers a better choice.

"We've dealt with father's who are traumatized because their girl friends or wives decided to have an abortion, it affects everybody, Leal said.

But pro-choice advocates said right wing Republicans have gone too far, allowing no exceptions to the new rules.

"Even if she's gotten pregnant through incest or rape. That TMs how far right and extreme the Republicans in the legislature have gotten, Hinojosa said.

The bill has returned to the Senate, where it will fight a Tuesday night special session deadline to pass into law.