4 Jul 2013

Anti-abortion legislation advancing in Texas

10:05 am on 4 July 2013

Contentious anti-abortion legislation in Texas is advancing amid vigorous demonstrations.

A state House committee passed the bill on Wednesday after testimony was limited and and amendments were refused.

The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and shut down most of the state's abortion clinics.

The BBC reports the legislation is widely expected to pass both houses of the legislature and become law. Texas Governor Rick Perry has vowed to sign it into law.

Last month, State Senator Wendy Davis (Democrat) halted the bill with a speech lasting nearly 11 hours.

But the following day, Mr Perry, a Republican who opposes abortion, called a special session to take up the abortion bill and other legislation.

On Tuesday, an estimated 3500 protesters were in Austin, the state capitol, and 1100 signed up to testify in the House committee on state affairs on the legislation.

But fewer than 100 people were able to speak after committee chairman Representative Byron Cook limited testimony to eight hours.

The BBC reports the bill passed along party lines after midnight and will go to the full House next week.