AUSTIN — House Republicans pushed through a series of sweeping abortion restrictions Tuesday after beating down nearly two dozen amendments from Democrats and disregarding repeated warnings from critics that the legislation is unconstitutional.
Tentative approval of the bill came just over a week after Gov. Rick Perry convened the current special session on abortion, and it left Democrats with few options to derail the measure as the House prepares to send it to a receptive, GOP-controlled Senate.
The bill was approved 98-49 after several hours of debate. The vote was largely along party lines. A final vote is scheduled for Wednesday.
Among the key provisions is a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, except when necessary to save the life of the woman or if the fetus has severe abnormalities. The legislation also requires all abortion clinics to meet the same high standards as ambulatory surgical centers by September 2014, and it mandates that doctors performing abortions have hospital privileges within 30 miles of their clinics.