Hours after Texas Republican lawmakers finalized some of the toughest
abortion restrictions in the country Thursday, a bill to ban abortions as early
as six weeks, when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, was filed.
State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, filed House Bill 59, which would ban abortions "if it has been determined ... that the unborn child has a detectable heartbeat."
North Dakota is the only other state to pass 'fetal heartbeat' legislation, and it is being challenged as unconstitutional in court.
A call to King's office after hours was not answered.
Gov. Rick Perry signed a package of abortion restrictions earlier Thursday, calling it a "celebratory day." The law bans abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, requires doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles, forces abortion clinics to meet standards for ambulatory surgical centers, and regulates how doctors administer abortion-inducing drugs.
Thousands of activists both for and against the legislation filled the State Capitol over the past two months during two special sessions. A final showdown in the Senate on Friday resulted in 12 arrests.
The special session ends July 31, which would require Republicans to rush the legislation through the process. The bill has not been scheduled for a committee hearing.
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