HOUSTON -- As Gov. Rick Perry signed sweeping new abortion regulations into law Thursday, outrage erupted once again inside the Texas Capitol.
“The blood of Texas women is on your hands!” pro-choice supporters shouted form the rotunda. Many of them wore black. The new law gives Texas some of the strictest abortion standards in the country.
Starting 90 days after the current special legislative session ends, most abortions will be banned after 20 weeks. By September 2014 abortions must be performed inside hospital-style surgical rooms, and doctors will need admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
“This will literally change the lives of millions in Texas,” state Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, said. “Not just today in 2013 but for the future and for eternity.”
But opponents said the changes will be expensive and force all but a handful of the state’s abortion clinics to close. They also worry that women will miss their 20-week deadline due to a possible backlog.
Though there will be exceptions for the life of the mother and severe fetal abnormalities, the law does not account for cases of rape or incest.
It was one reason why Houston representative and Republican Sarah Davis voted against the bill.
“This is about politics, this is not about policy,” she said. “This is about having things to talk about in Republican primary campaigns.”
Similar restrictions have already been passed in more than a half dozen other states. Each faces challenges.
Though no court challenges were immediately filed on Thursday in Texas, they are expected soon.