Perry signs anti-abortion bill into law

WiG

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on July 18 signed into law an anti-abortion bill expected to force the closure of most women’s health clinics that provide abortions in the state.

The measure also prohibits abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Perry, at the bill-signing, said, “This is an important day for those who support life and for those who support the health of Texas women. In signing House Bill 2, we celebrate and further cement the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built.”

Thousands of protesters had demonstrated at the state Capitol against the legislation. Perry called a special session of the Legislature after the bill was defeated last month following a dramatic filibuster by State Sen. Wendy Davis.

Leading medical groups, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Texas Hospital Association, oppose the measure as an unwarranted intrusion into the doctor patient relationship and unnecessary for patient safety. The measure says that doctors who perform abortions must have hospital admitting privileges at a facility within 30 miles and that clinics must be equipped as ambulatory surgical centers even though abortion is not a surgery.

A legal challenge is likely.

In a statement released on July 18, Jennifer Dalven of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project said, “The Texas measure is part of an orchestrated, nationwide plan to outlaw abortion clinic by clinic, state by state. As what happened in Texas shows, women aren’t stupid. We won’t sit quietly by while politicians take away our right to make our own, personal and private medical decisions just to score political points.”

Terri Burke with the ACLU of Texas added, “The passage of this legislation is a clear example of an extreme minority imposing its will on the majority, all in an attempt to win more supporters in political primaries. As polls of Texas voters have repeatedly shown, the majority of Texans don’t want legislators passing more restrictions on a woman’s right to have safe and legal abortions. Even after tens of thousands have stood up in the state Capitol and in cities across the state to tell them loud and clear that politicians should not be interfering in a woman’s personal and private decision-making, some politicians are still not getting message.”