Texas

Texas Senate Drops 20-Week Abortion Ban

Did approve tougher restrictions on abortion providers

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Republican-led Texas Senate voted late Tuesday night for tough new restrictions on abortion clinics and providers, but abandoned efforts to ban the procedure after the 20th week of pregnancy.

While the U.S. House approved a similar ban after 20 weeks earlier in the day, the sponsor of the Texas bill said he took it out of the state plan because of fears it didn't have enough time to pass with just one week left in the special session.

The new restrictions would allow abortions only in surgical facilities and place greater controls on abortion-inducing medications.

The Senate also approved a major transportation bill that diverts nearly $1 billion a year from the state's reserve fund to help ease the state's road building and maintenance crisis under the crush of a rapidly expanding population.

The abortion measures stirred up the most passionate floor debate so far in the 30-day special session. AlthoughDemocrats had blocked the measures in the regular session, Republicans had pressured Gov. Rick Perry to put them on the agenda of the special session when Democrat's voting power would be diluted.