The Texas Senate last night, on a 20-10 party line vote, approved strict new abortion regulations which have been a key priority of the conservative leadership and Governor Perry, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"We will remember this day, I think it is a proud day," State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) declared following the vote, which came after six hours of sometimes heated debate. "It is a step forward for women's health, and it's a step forward for live. I am proud to stand here, and I don't apologize for my vote."
The measure will take three significant steps to restrict access to abortion. It will further regulate abortion clinics, it will require that physicians who perform abortions be more tightly regulated, and it will place severe restrictions on the use of the so called 'abortion pill,' RU 486.
Democrats fought hard to get the bill killed, and after it was over, complained that it 'punishes women.'
"Tonight, a majority of my colleagues advanced a bill that they claim will protect women's health and safety, but in fact, it will deny them their Constitutional rights," State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio) said.
"It is obvious that the real goal of this bill is to make it harder, even impossible, for women to elect a procedure that is perfectly legal, especially women who live hundreds of miles from major urban areas."
Opponents of the bill say it will require that 37 of the abortion clinics statewide, forcing women to pursue unsafe methods.
Patrick bristled at claims that the bill 'punishes' women.
"To suggest that we don't care about women, to suggest that we don't value the life of a woman personally offends me," Patrick said.
Four women, apparently filled with loathing for their gender, voted for the bill.
The measure does not include the so called 'fetal pain' bill, which would restrict abortion to 20 weeks gestation on the argument that after that point, fetuses can feel pain. Supporters say they were afraid that the fetal pain would not have the votes to pass and would scuttle the entire bill.
Amazingly, no proponents of the bill used the compelling argument made on behalf of federal abortion restrictions by Republican Texas U.S. Rep Michael Burgess of Denton. He told lawmakers that at 15 weeks gestation, fetuses can 'masturbate,' so that indicates that they feel 'pleasure' and should not be aborted.