Amid 'Circus' Scene, Texas Senate OKs Abortion Bill

It heads to Perry, who will sign it; Dems vow courts will overturn
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2013 6:20 AM CDT
Amid 'Circus' Scene, Texas Senate OKs Abortion Bill
A supporter an abortion bill reads the Bible while in line outside the Texas Senate chambers as he final vote by the Senate is expected to begin, Friday, July 12, 2013.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Texas' Senate passed its contentious abortion bill last night in no uncertain terms, reports the Houston Chronicle, voting 19-11 to send the legislation to Gov. Rick Perry for final approval. Perry has left no doubt that he'll sign "our historic effort to protect life," and yesterday praised legislators who “tirelessly defended our smallest and most vulnerable Texans and future Texans.” The Chronicle notes that "a circus-like atmosphere" dominated the Capitol, with thousands of the bill's orange-clad opponents facing off against its blue-clad supporters as legislators dangled baby shoes and sonograms, and security reportedly confiscated glitter, tampons, jars of urine, and the like. One guy's orange T-shirt summed up the testy mood, adds the New York Times: “@TXLEGE: U R dumb."

Republicans brushed aside Democrats' accusations of a "war on women," with the bill's Senate sponsor saying, "this bill raises the standard of care for women in Texas." Some Democrats appeared to shrug and point to the bill's eventual doom. "Don't you realize that federal courts have recognized that abortion is a federally protected constitutional right?" asked one Houston senator. "It's just going to be struck down." Wendy Davis—she of the 11-hour filibuster that doomed the bill last time around—told her fellow legislators that "the fight for the future of Texas is just beginning." She later grabbed a bullhorn and urged the crowd to "make sure tonight is not an ending point. It’s a beginning point as we work to take this state back." (Read more Texas stories.)

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