As an acrimonious shouting match between pro choice and pro life forces continued outside the chamber, a Texas House Committee today approved that bill cracking down on abortions and sending the measure to the full House for consideration, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Hundreds of people on both sides of the issue shouted it out all night long, debating everything from the impact of abortion on women's rights to how abortion is covered in the Bible.
Inside the House committee room, the tone was more restrained, but emotions still ran high.
Stacy Wilson of the Texas Hospital Association said the provision of the bill which requires any doctor who practices at an abortion clinic to have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles would drastically restrict access to abortion.
"If no doctors in Texas can qualify for this provision to have admitting privileges, than no doctor would be able to perform the procedure," she said.
Dr. Michael Love says there is no truth to claims by pro choice activists that the bill would force all but five of the state's 43 working abortion clinics to close. He says the state has the right to guarantee that patients encounter safe and sanitary conditions inside abortion clinics. The name of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion doctor who performed abortions inside a filthy clinic has come up a lot in the Texas debate.
"Care is restricted when physicians or clinics refuse to comply with the standard of care and choose to close their doors," Dr. Love said. "That is not the state closing them down."
The House hearing was streamlined and hundreds of people who had signed up to speak on the abortion bill were not heard when House Republicans cut off testimony at midnight. That bothers State Rep. Helen Giddings (D-Dallas)
"The process was certainly compromised," she said. "That is entirely new, not allowing members to ask questions of the author."
House Republicans say they are confident they have the votes to approve the bill when he comes up for a vote next week.