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New Rules for Abortion Doctors Heads to Senate Floor (Update)

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: A bill requiring abortion providers to have the ability to admit patients at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic now moves to the Senate floor.

Supporters say the bill would ensure patients have access to care if there is a complication or emergency during or after the abortion. 

“If an abortionist is not competent to obtain hospital privileges, then he is not competent to doing abortions," said Mary Lynn Gerstenschlager with the conservative Texas Eagle Forum.

Opponents say requiring an abortion provider to have privileges at a nearby hospital is expensive and time consuming for the hospital itself. They also say the bill gives hospitals the power to determine who can provide abortions in an area.

“It’s inappropriate for hospitals to have a de facto licensure role over physicians to say how and where they can practice medicine," Blake Rocap with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas said.

The bill also would require abortion providers to tell patients the name and address of the nearest hospital and the number of a 24-hour hotline.

Original Story (8:33 a.m.): A bill that could slash the number of abortion clinics in Texas will get a hearing today.

SB 1198, from Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Galveston, calls for doctors that provide abortions to have privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic.

Anti-abortion groups claim the measure will guarantee the safety of women who undergo abortions. But abortion rights advocates call the bill a backdoor ban.

The bill goes before to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee this morning at 9 a.m.

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