Governor Perry signs sweeping abortion restrictions - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Governor Perry signs sweeping abortion restrictions

Posted: Updated:

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed sweeping new abortion restrictions on Thursday that could shutter most of the clinics in the state.

More than 100 Republican lawmakers attended the signing ceremony with a small band of protesters outside dressed in black and holding a sign that read, ‘‘Shame.'' The legislation had sparked weeks of protests at the state Capitol.

The new law bans abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and dictates when abortion-inducing drugs can be taken. But it also requires abortion clinic doctors to have hospital admitting privileges and restricts abortions to surgical centers. Only five of Texas' 42 abortion clinics currently meet the new requirements.

The law will take effect in October and clinics will have a year to upgrade their facilities or shutdown. Perry said the new law ‘‘builds upon our commitment to protecting life in the state of Texas.''

The governor and other top Republican politicians in the state made passing the law a top priority, in part to please supporters before the primary election in March. They failed to pass the bill last month on the last day of a special legislative session because of a Democratic state senator's lengthy filibuster and a raucous crowd. But they were successful last week after Perry called a second special session to get the bill approved.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said Thursday that the ‘‘radical left'' had inflicted ‘‘intentional chaos'' that delayed the bill's initial passage. He credited prayer and even ‘‘the hand of God'' in making Thursday's event happen, as about 25 protesters could be heard chanting ‘‘Shame! Shame! Shame!'' out in the hallway.

Supporters of the law argue that it will ensure high-quality health care for women and fetuses, but opponents view it as over-regulation intended to make abortions harder to obtain.

Federal judges have blocked enforcement of similar measures in other states, questioning their constitutionality. Opponents are expected to file similar suits in Texas now that Perry has signed the law.

  • Local HeadlinesMore>>

  • Management, Safety Cited for Radiation Release at WIPP Plant

    Management, Safety Cited for Radiation Release at WIPP Plant

    Department of Energy investigators say a radiation release from the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico was the result of a slow erosion of safety at the 15-year-old site.
    Department of Energy investigators say a radiation release from the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico was the result of a slow erosion of safety at the 15-year-old site.
  • Authorities Apprehend Wanted Man in Odessa

    Authorities Apprehend Wanted Man in Odessa

    A man who had been on the run from authorities is now behind bars.Officials found Delton Jones around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night in the 300 block of Pecos Street in Odessa. 
    A man who had been on the run from authorities is now behind bars.Officials found Delton Jones around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night in the 300 block of Pecos Street in Odessa. 
  • Man Killed by Texas Trooper Wanted on Warrants

    Man Killed by Texas Trooper Wanted on Warrants

    Authorities say a driver who was fatally shot by a Texas trooper after falsely identifying himself during a traffic stop was wanted on felony warrants out of California and was a gang member.
    Authorities say a driver who was fatally shot by a Texas trooper after falsely identifying himself during a traffic stop was wanted on felony warrants out of California and was a gang member.