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Texas House Passes Restrictive Abortion Bill (Update)

Ben Philpott

Update: House members voted 95 to 34 to pass Senate Bill 5. Now it’s back to the Senate, which already approved the bill, but will have to vote on it again – because its initial version didn’t include the abortion ban after 20 weeks.

Lawmakers are running out of time to take action during this special session. It ends tomorrow at midnight. There’s talk of a filibuster in the Senate to run out the clock.

Update: House gaveled in just after 9 a.m. A handful of Democrats have showed up.

Original Post: After spending hours in a contentious debate over abortion regulations, the Texas House is getting off to a slow start this morning.

Debate on Senate Bill 5 lasted until after 3 a.m. Monday morning. The bill was given initial approval on a party line vote. The debate included many attempts by Democrats to amend a bill they say would close all but 5 abortion clinics in Texas.

Several times during the late night debate Democrats reminded the chamber that passing the bill would mean a woman in El Paso would have to drive to San Antonio, a nearly 600 mile trip, for abortion services.

Democrats don't have the votes to keep the bill from passing. But the longer they delay action in the House, the less time Senators have to give final passage. And there are threats of a filibuster to run out the clock on the bill there.

The special legislative session ends Tuesday.

Ben Philpott is the Managing Editor for KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @BenPhilpottKUT.
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