(Photo: Bryan Redding Photography)
Texas' state Senate has approved a pro-life bill that many believe will lead to the closure of most of the Lone Star State's abortion clinics.
Senate Bill 5, passed Tuesday in a vote of 20 to 10 after about six hours of debate, would require abortion clinics to be held to ambulatory surgical centers' standards. The costly nature of refitting the clinics to those standards could result in the shuttering of at least 32 of Texas' 38 abortion-providing facilities.
According to Elizabeth Graham, director of the Texas chapter of Right to Life, SB 5 successfully made it through committee last week due in part to the topic of late-term abortion providers.
"Though debate in committee on Thursday lasted about four hours, the committee heard about the atrocities recently uncovered at the Houston abortion clinic operated by abortionist Douglas Karpen," wrote Graham.
"Karpen's practice and the conviction of Kermit Gosnell brought to light the urgency of stopping the infanticide of fully-birthed newborns. The committee recognized the need to enact protections for both children and pregnant women by moving these bills to consideration by the full Senate…"
While considered sweeping by many analysts, during the amending process SB 5 had removed its provision to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy save for certain exceptions.
Republican Sen. Glenn Hegar, author of SB 5, stated during Tuesday evening's debate that the bill involves the protection of innocent life.
"At this point this committee substitute is the most practical and logical way for us to raise the standard of care and protect innocent life and move something to the House to give them an opportunity to weigh in on this very heavy and weighty emotional issue," said Hegar.
Democratic Senator Wendy Davis took issue with the bill, saying it was "not about making women safe," but rather "about political primaries and making sure you're feeding the red meat for the political primaries."
According to Claire Cardona of Dallas News, in addition to the new clinic standards SB 5 had other provisions.
"It would also require that physicians administering the medication to terminate early pregnancies perform an exam before giving the first dose and follow up within 14 days of the third dose," wrote Cardona.
"Doctors would have to give the patient a 24-hour contact number for them or an associate and directions and numbers for the nearest hospital."
Texas Governor and former Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has stated that he backs the pro-life legislation.