Texas Senate Tries to Pass Abortion Restriction, Though Session May Have Been Legally Over


A supposed "safety" law that would shut down nearly all abortion clinics in Texas supposedly passed tonight, though many on the scene report the vote happened illegally past midnight when the session was officially meant to be over, after a daylong filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis.

No major cable news channel covered the filibuster live, curiously, though Twitter was all a-twitter thanks to a Texas Tribune live feed.

Details on the bill from CBS News:

"This is really about women's health," said Sen. Bob Deuell, who introduced a requirement that all abortions take place in surgical centers. "Sometimes bad things can happen."

[Sen. Wendy] Davis questioned then why vasectomies and colonoscopies aren't also required to take place in such clinics. "Because I've been unable to have a simple question answered to help me understand how this would lead to better care for women, I must question the underlying motive for doing so."….

The bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and force many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities and be classified as ambulatory surgical centers. Also, doctors would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles—a tall order in rural communities….

CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez reports many clinics would be forced to shut down because they wouldn't be able to afford the changes required by the law. Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman's Health, said it would cost up to $2 million for each of her clinics to be upgraded to hospital-style operating rooms.

"I'd have to knock down the wall between this room and another room, I'd have to add airflow systems, I'd have to get oxygen piped in through walls instead of tank in here," she explained in one of her centers.

The Texas House passed it earlier this week.

Guy Bentley blogged about the afternoon's developments.