Texas is a divided state.
The Texas Legislature passed HB 2 -- the controversial abortion bill that caught the attention of the nation when Senator Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, filibustered the original bill in regular session. The bill has caused Texans -- including many Huntsville residents -- to take sides, and unleashed a firestorm of responses nationally from both sides.
The bill bans all abortions after 20 weeks and, among other limits, restricts the type of doctors and facilities that can perform abortions.
Republican lawmakers championed the bill as a pro-life victory. Many say that the bill is a protection for the unborn and creates safer environments for women choosing to have an abortion.
Gov. Rick Perry made passing the legislation a top priority, calling a special session of the Legislature with its main purpose to pass the bill. He will sign the law in the next few days.
"Today, the Texas Legislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life," Perry said. "This legislation builds on the strong and unwavering commitment we have made to defend life and protect women's health."
The Texas Republican Party celebrated what they consider to be a major victory that makes Texas "a nationwide leader in pro-life legislation." In part, they said a renewed effort by the Democrats to get more of their party elected was shadowed by the events.
"As Democrats continue to talk about their dreams of turning Texas blue, passage of (the bill) is proof that Texans are conservative and organized and we look forward to working with our amazing Republican leadership in the Texas Legislature as they finish the special session strong," a party statement said.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted his support of the bill throughout the night, congratulating the Legislature for its eventual passage.
"Great news: the Texas Senate has finally passed #HB2. Thanks for your #Stand4Life! #txlege," Cruz said on Twitter.
A poll by the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas Tribune showed that 62 percent of Texans support the post-20-week abortion ban. The poll did not address any other part of the bill, including the restrictions on clinics and doctors.
Supporters argue the bill increases the standard of care for women. The bill requires all doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges and be done in a certified ambulatory surgical center, which they say make women safer than procedures done in state-inspected abortion clinics not surgery-certified. Admitting privileges, proponents say, is a signifier that the doctor is qualified.
They also argue that after 20 weeks a fetus can feel pain, an assertion that is disputed by peer-reviewed scientific studies.
Another portion of the bill requires women to take abortion-inducing medication to be taken in the presence of a doctor. Supporters argue that because the original instructions for abortion-inducing medications called for them to be taken in the presence of a doctor, it should be required by law.
New Waverly resident Jessica Frazier Vaughn reflected the opinions of many conservative lawmakers in a comment on a Huntsville Item Facebook post.
"I don't see how it is a shame to protect unborn babies and their mothers," Vaughn said. "If a women really wants an abortion don't you think that they
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