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Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 12:26am
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — Late Friday night, the Texas State Senate passed House Bill 2, new abortion restrictions by a vote of 19-11.
State Senator Wendy Davis tried blocking the bill during its first special session with a 13-hour filibuster.
The abortion debate caused an uproar among people on both sides of the issue, and for days, millions across Texas protested.
"The fact is is that it's a constitutional right, accorded to women in this country since 1973 by the US Supreme Court," said State Senator, Jose Rodriguez.
The new bill prohibits women from getting an abortion after 20 weeks of being pregnant, and limits a woman's ability to induce an abortion by taking a pill.
All abortion procedures must also be perfomed in a surgical center, no further than 30 miles away from a hospital.
"I'm thrilled. I am so happy to know that a lot of babies and mothers are going to be protected," said pro-life advocate, Gabriella Federico from "40 Days For Life El Paso."
"It's really limiting women's access to choose what's best for their lives and for their family, in their very unique situations," said pro-choice advocate, Andra Litton from "Stand With El Paso Women."
Opponents of the bill argue the rules presented in the bill are unrealistic.
Supporters insist the bill improves the quality of health care for women.
"I think that shutting down these clinics makes abortion unthinkable because if you don't make it available, you know, less women will think about abortion," said Federico.
"I think it's going to be very detrimental to the healthcare of the women in El Paso, and Southern New Mexico, and Juarez too," said Litton.
HB 2 would close all but 5 clinics in the state.
In El Paso, the only two clinics that perform abortions would have to shut their doors.
"The battle was lost in the Texas State Capitol but not the war," said Rodriguez.
"This will go to a higher court, and ultimately, it's going to cost the taxpayers of the state of Texas a lot of money because it will get overturned. It's unconstitutional and they know it," said Litton.
Democrats in the legislature have said they will challege the bill in federal court.
For now, it's on its way to Governor Rick Perry's office to be signed into law.