(Reuters) - The Texas House of Representatives approved sweeping abortion restrictions on Tuesday, including a ban after 20 weeks of pregnancy and tougher standards for clinics that perform the procedure.
The vote of 98-49 came after a full day of sometimes emotional debate. Before the measure can head to the state Senate, it needs a final vote from the House, which is expected on Wednesday.
This bill failed the first time thanks to Wendy Davis's filibuster, but Gov. Rick Perry simply called a special legislative session to order to get a do-over. He accused Democrats of 'mob rule' in using their voices to defeat the bill, but monarchical rule on his part - keep having the vote till you get the result you want - is ok.
Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican who opposes abortion, called lawmakers back to Austin for a second special session to reconsider the proposal. Most lawmakers in the Republican controlled Senate favor the bill.Part of the strategy is to blur the line between 'fetus' and 'baby':
During the debate on Tuesday, Representative Jason Villalba, a Republican whose wife is expecting a baby boy, spoke passionately in favor of the bill while showing his colleagues a sonogram picture of "my son."I guess it's safe to say his wife will now be protected from that unwanted, forced abortion.
Women's hard fought for rights keep getting chipped away a the state level. And belief trumps research:
The 20-week provision - a version of which has been passed by a dozen states - is based on controversial research suggesting fetuses feel pain at that point in the pregnancy.In an interview with CNN Wendy Davis conceded the bill is likely to pass:
Bill opponent Representative Senfronia Thompson, a Democrat, unsuccessfully proposed an amendment to exempt victims of rape and incest from the 20-week provision.
Last week, two states imposed new abortion restrictions.
Ohio stripped funding from Planned Parenthood and put new requirements on those performing and seeking abortions. Wisconsin passed a law requiring women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound and new requirements on doctors performing abortions.
Following the launch of a "Stand with Texas Women" bus tour with fellow Democrats to oppose the state's hotly contested abortion bill, Davis conceded to CNN the measure is likely to pass.
"It will be very difficult because unfortunately the voices that have been here crying out against this bill are not going to be heard," Davis told CNN in a brief interview.
"But I don't think it's the end. It's the beginning of a battle line," she added.