Texas Governor Rick Perry called the state legislature back into session July 1 to give lawmakers another chance to approve a measure that might close most of the state’s abortion clinics.
The legislation died in a special session that ended last night after a Democratic senator filibustered. Republican backers forced a vote approving the measure that was later ruled invalid because it came after the midnight conclusion of the session.
“Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn,” Perry said in a statement today.
The measure that failed yesterday would ban abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy and require that they be performed in ambulatory surgical centers by doctors with admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (50 kilometers). Most clinics would have to alter facilities to meet the requirements, which abortion-rights advocates say they can’t afford. Doctors at other clinics may struggle to win privileges.
In the past three years, Republican-led states increasingly have restricted when and how women can end pregnancies. Twenty- week bans have been among the most popular, passing in at least 10 states since 2010. Some measures face legal challenges and haven’t taken effect.
In May, an Arizona law that made it a crime for doctors to perform abortions after 20 weeks was struck down by a federal appeals court. The ruling said the measure violated the precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which granted the right to an abortion until a fetus is viable, typically considered about 24 weeks.
The Texas measure passed the House, but failed in the Senate after Wendy Davis, a Democrat, filibustered more than 10 hours. Republicans then forced a vote on the legislation.
After some confusion, Republican leaders said the vote came after the midnight end of the special session and didn’t count.
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