Texas Abortion Law a Model for Other States?

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Landmark legislation restricting abortion in the state of Texas is getting the attention of legislators across the country.

The new bill, signed into law Thursday by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, may serve as a model for other states to follow. The bill, known as HB2, restricts abortions and abortion clinics in the state.

"This is a momentous day for the cause of life," Texas Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R) said.

"This will literally change the lives of millions in Texas," State Sen. Glenn Hegar (R) added.

That's because the Texas law requires that most abortions be performed within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

"At five months, many studies indicate these children feel the pain of their own deaths," Gov. Perry said. "It is our responsibility and duty to give voice to the unborn."

Pro-abortion supporters say the law hurts women.

Katherine Miller volunteers with the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, which helps low income women pay for abortions.

"They are doing everything they can to destroy any kind of rights that women have for bodily autonomy," Miller said.

The legislation also requires abortion clinics to follow health regulations for surgical care and mandates that individuals performing abortions have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Only five of 42 Texas abortion clinics currently meet those standards.

"Clinics that don't comply, they don't shut down," Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said. "They continue to provide women's health (care); they just can't provide an abortion."

A group of pro-abortion advocates rallied at the Texas state capitol building. They insist the true goal of the Texas governor and Republican legislators is to prevent legal abortions in the state.

"My hanger is a wire hanger because that's what we're going to go back to if women do not have access to safe, legal, accessible abortion," Miller said.

But Gov. Perry insists the new law is sensible.

"At the end of the day, House Bill 2 makes sure that anyone performing abortions in the state of Texas is doing so in a facility that meets appropriate safety guidelines," he said. "That is reasonable. That is common sense." 

Moments after the governor signed the bill into law, Planned Parenthood announced it will close three of its Texas clinics in Bryan, Huntsville, and Lufkin.

The law goes into effect in October. But Texas abortion clinics have until September 2014 to meet the new guidelines.

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