The Texas House gave final approval to new abortion restrictions Wednesday following a 10-hour marathon debate.
As activists on both sides of the issue continued to demonstrate outside the state Capitol building, pro-life lawmakers praised the move as a vote in favor of women and children.
"It was a very passionate debate," state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, said. "I'm proud of who we are as a state and for the steps that we have taken to protect both babies and women."
During Tuesday's heated legislative session critics noted the bill will shut down most abortion clinics in Texas.
"We think that they should have a right and a choice and that choice should be whether or not that they want to carry a child or to terminate him," State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, said.
But state Rep. Stefani Carter, R-Dallas, said, "I think there's enough money that goes into Planned Parenthood and other entities such that if these facilities would like to stay open, they will, and they have to comply with Texas law in order to do so."
The bill now heads to the Texas Senate, where the Republican majority is also expected to pass the bill as early as Friday.
If the measure passes it would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the belief that unborn babies can feel pain by that stage.
The measure would also require abortion clinics and abortion doctors to comply with the same standards as the rest of the medical fie