Texas stiffens abortion restrictions; pro-lifers rally to support bill

A pro-life supporter holds a placard as protesters line the railing on the second floor of the rotunda of the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, July 12 as the state Senate considers a bill to restrict abortion. The Republican-led Senate the measure to adop t tougher abortion regulations July 13. (CNS photo/Mike Stone, Reuters)
A pro-life supporter holds a placard as protesters line the railing on the second floor of the rotunda of the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, July 12 as the state Senate considers a bill to restrict abortion. The Republican-led Senate the measure to adop t tougher abortion regulations July 13. (CNS photo/Mike Stone, Reuters)

AUSTIN, Texas (CNS) — The drama in Texas over abortion that drew national and international attention came to an end for the moment after the state House of Representatives then the state Senate voted to adopt tougher abortion regulations. Gov. Rick Perry promised to sign the bill into law soon.

The law prohibits abortions in the 20th week of pregnancy, requires abortion clinics to be certified as surgical centers and increases regulations on doctors and abortion-inducing drugs. Jeff Patterson, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference, said the law protects life by requiring no termination of pregnancies after the first 20 weeks and it improves standards for abortion facilities.

The conference is the statewide association of the Catholic dioceses in Texas and the public policy arm of the conference’s board of directors — the bishops — that represents Catholic positions on issues before the Texas Legislature, the Texas delegation in Congress and state agencies.

“Twenty weeks is five months — that’s late term and a point where babies can feel pain,” Patterson said. “The higher standards for abortion clinics are in case there are complications or problems that occur when providing abortions.”