Saying it 'expands our commitment to protecting human life in Texas,' Gov. Rick Perry today singed that controversial abortion measure, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Outside, a small group of pro choice demonstrators held up a sign reading 'shame.'
The restrictions, some of the strictest in the country, will require abortion clinics to receive certification as 'Ambulatory Care Centers,' and it requires that every abortion clinic have a doctor on staff who has admitting privileges at a hospital no more than thirty miles from the clinic.
The bill also enshrines the so called 'Fetal Pain Provision' which bans abortions after twenty weeks gestation, on the grounds that after that point, the fetus can feel pain in the womb.
That provision pleases Marjorie Dannenfeilser, the President of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro life group.
"Texas' monumental new law sheds light on the urgent need for action in the U.S. Senate," she said. "Unborn children and women deserve federal protection from horrific late-term abortions."
But Janet Crepps of the Center for Reproductive Rights, says a lawsuit challenging the bill, which is inevitable, will result in most, or not all, of it being thrown out as unconstitutional.
"In the states where these laws have been challenged, the courts have been finding the unconstitutional, or at least saying that the law should not be allowed to take effect," she said.
Supporters of the bill point out that 20 weeks gestation is the limit in most of Europe, and many U.S. states have approved laws limiting abortion to 20 weeks. The U.S. House has also passed a 20 week limit. Supporters say the conviction of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who was performing brutal late term abortions which left at least one woman dead, has been the driving force behind these abortion restrictions.
"Real lives are at stake," Dannenfeiser said. "Washington, as well as the abortion lobby, must not be allowed to ignore the women and babies suffering barbaric late term abortions nationwide."
The Texas law will take effect in three months, to give abortion clinics the opportunity to meet the standards of the new law.
Pro choice groups say it will force 38 of the 43 abortion clinics currently in operation in Texas to close their doors. Pro life groups counter that the laws are 'common sense regulations,' and if the abortion clinics close, that will because they have made the business decision not to pay the extra money to upgrade their facilities and it is the clinic's decision to close.