Abortion

Ben Philpott for KUT News

A handful of clinics in Texas have closed, or are planning to, just weeks after a controversial bill restricting abortions passed the state legislature.

Planned Parenthood says the closures will hurt the women who came to the clinics for general healthcare services. Anti-abortion groups say there are other doctors for the women to go to. So who's right?

Four abortion clinics are preparing to close in the coming months as a result of stricter requirements imposed by a new state law regulating abortion. The Dallas Morning News reports that one of the main obstacles the clinics face is a requirement that doctors who perform the procedure obtain admitting privileges at hospitals. The clinics that will close are in Bryan, Harlingen, San Angelo and Midland. Two others closed earlier this year.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

With about 1,500 bills passed during its four legislative sessions, the 83rd Texas Legislature could be remembered for a number of things.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

This week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a law banning abortions after 20 weeks.

It also increases requirements for clinics and doctors that provide abortions. Clinics have a little over a year to upgrade to ambulatory surgical centers. Several clinics are expected to close, leaving women in poor and rural areas the most affected.

Gov. Perry Signs Texas' Sweeping Abortion Bill Into Law

Jul 18, 2013
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a controversial bill into law this morning.

"It is a happy, celebratory day, and so many of you in this audience are the reason we're here today," Perry said. "In signing House Bill 2, we celebrate and further cement the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built upon."

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Last week, the Texas Senate passed  House Bill 2, restricting abortions in Texas. Gov. Rick Perry is expected to sign it in coming days, and the Texas Department of Health and Human Services is already gearing up to start implementing the changes. But even with that battle lost, some Democrats have dared to dream about what the abortion battle could mean for the 2014 elections.

Image courtesy Daquella Manera at flickr.com

Now that House Bill 2 has passed and awaits Governor Rick Perry’s signature, a long process will begin to determine how the new, stricter standards for abortion clinics will be implemented. 

The Texas Department of Health Services will be in charge of writing rules for how abortion clinics in Texas will need to upgrade.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The Senate has given a final vote to pass House Bill 2, passing it 19-11.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst asked Senators that  "whether you're Christian, whether you're a person of faith, that we not forget to love each other." He said he felt goose bumps by seeing the orange and blue shirts in the gallery.

Update: The fate of House Bill 2 has been decided for now. The Texas Senate voted preliminarily 19 to 11 to pass the measure, without any amendments.

They need to give the bill a final vote before it would go to Gov. Rick Perry's desk for a signature.

In the last stretch of the night, senators gave most of their most impassioned statements when they gave their closing remarks.

  • View a photo gallery of the day's events in the slideshow player at the top of this page.

Based on stories coming out of the Texas Capitol, you might think the current 30-day special legislative session is about one thing, and one thing only: abortion.

But there are actually two other subjects on the agenda for this session:

  • Transportation Funding
  • Juvenile Justice

Texas Senators Push for Family Planning Support

Jul 11, 2013
KUT News

Members of the Texas Senate committee that voted today to increase restrictions on abortion also say they want more support for preventive care, family planning and adoption services in Texas.

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT

A familiar sound filled the Texas House on Wednesday morning – the voting bell, applause and protesters.

House Bill 2 passed, 96 to 49 nays, and it's also expected to pass the Senate, late this week or early next. Opponents of the new abortion restrictions say regardless, it will end up in court.

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Update: The House passed HB 2 on a vote of 96 to 49 this morning. The bill will be sent to the Senate Health & Human Services Committee this week for a vote, and the bill could be sent to the Senate floor for a full vote as early next week. 

Update (10:00 a.m.) Last night the House passed HB 2 on second reading by a vote of 98 to 49. The bill, which would limit access to abortions across Texas, is set for a third and final reading today in the House.

If passed, the bill will head across the Capitol rotunda to the Senate, and it could be sent to a committee as soon as this week. Below you can watch the live stream of the vote from our reporting partners The Texas Tribune.

KUT News

Last week, Gov. Rick Perry said on a radio program that abortion was the second most common surgical procedure performed in the United States.

There's been countless explosive moments in Texas' ongoing legislative battle over abortion — but few moments like this posted to YouTube. 

Yesterday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 1, which would restrict abortions across Texas. Some 13 hours of testimony later, committee chair Sen. Jane Nelson called on abortion rights advocate Sarah Slamen, whose two minutes included pointed descriptors of the committee members themselves – language that got her ejected.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Texas has one of the highest teen birth rates in the country.  According to a recent study by the Guttmacher Institute, in 2008, Texan teens had 85 pregnancies per 1,000 women 15-19 years old.

And while protests and hearings continue around Senate Bill 1 — the bill that would limit access to abortions in Texas — some Democratic state lawmakers have filed two bills that would make changes to health and sex education.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Update: The Senate Health & Human Services Committee public hearing on Senate Bill 1 wrapped up just before 2 a.m. Tuesday. Senators did not vote on the bill.

Original Story (July 8, 10 a.m.): The Senate Health & Human Services Committee is holding a public hearing today on a bill that would limit access to abortions in Texas.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

For the first time since State Sen. Wendy Davis' historic Senate filibuster last month, Texas senators revisited the abortion debate at a committee hearing that ended at almost 2 a.m. Tuesday.

There won't be a vote on this bill for now. Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chair Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, says the Senate will wait on the Texas House to approve its version of the bill. The full House is taking up the issue today.

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

A Texas Senate committee will take up a bill this morning that regulates and restricts abortions, which has sparked people on both sides of the bill to organize events at the Capitol to express their opinions.

Participants at a rally this evening on the south steps of the Capitol this evening have a message.

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

TribCast: Filibuster Fallout and Exciting Future Plans by KUT News

On this week's Texas Tribune Tribcast, Reeve Hamilton, Evan Smith, Ross Ramsey and KUT's Ben Philpott discuss the fallout from last week's filibuster by state Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), the Voting Rights Act, the effort to impeach a university regent, and Governor Rick Perry's coming announcement of "exciting future plans."

Veronica Zaragovia

The battle over abortion legislation in Texas has gotten lots of national attention --from a filibuster to record-breaking crowds of protestors on both sides, it’s the noise about the bill that’s taken center stage.

Veornica Zaragovia for KUT News

Update: A Texas House panel voted early this morning along party lines to pass a bill to put more restrictions on abortion in the state. While the committee heard hours of testimony, more than one thousand people who signed up to speak, weren’t given the opportunity.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

In the wake of last week and yesterday's rallies at the Capitol, the security detail under the dome has made some distinct changes to deal with large scale protests as the second special session begins.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Texas lawmakers are back in Austin for a second special legislative session. The first one ended last week with protests and a late night filibuster to block abortion legislation. And the short time off between sessions has only galvanized activists on both sides of the issue.

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

After the sound of the gavel, the Texas House marked the start of the second 2013 special session, adjourning less than an hour later. 

But, before the lower chamber adjourned, a number of Democrats lined up at the back microphone to question what lies ahead for HB 2, a bill that would restrict abortions in Texas.

Photos: Protests at the Capitol (Updated)

Jul 1, 2013
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

As the Texas Legislature's second special session begins, protestors have descended upon the Capitol to demonstrate both for and against new abortion restrictions that lawmakers will consider. Abortion rights advocates and anti-abortion protestors have been milling around the Capitol to let lawmakers know where, and with which side, they stand.

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

What happens when the whole world tunes in to watch the end of a Texas legislative session? In the few days since the first 2013 special session ended last week -- and the new one that starts today, Texas politicians have been using the abortion issue to raise money or assess how much support they have.  

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

In the Texas legislature, every rosebush has a thorn.

So-called rosebush bills, or blocker bills, have a unique role that allow senators to delay a debate on a bill, or block a bill’s movement altogether.

It’s typically a tactic used by the legislative minority, but two bills filed by Sen. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler, could serve as hurdles for lawmakers in the second special session that begins Monday.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry is fond of special sessions. Since 2000, he's called for 11 special sessions as governor. And, after the legislative fireworks in the final hours of the last special session, Gov. Perry called yet another special session, bringing lawmakers back to Austin to address transportation, criminal justice and abortion regulations not covered last session's call.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry went after State Sen. Wendy Davis today in a speech to a national anti-abortion group in Dallas over Davis’ 11-hour filibuster this week that helped block an abortion bill from passing.

Perry said her own birth and life under difficult circumstances — Davis was born to a single mother and was herself a single mother at age 19 — should have taught her to take Perry’s side on the issue.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry has added abortion restrictions, transportation funding and criminal justice legislation to his call for the second 2013 special session, on the heels of the abortion bill’s failure a day ago.

Republicans tried to get a vote out on Senate Bill 5 before midnight Tuesday, the session’s last day. But they attributed the failure of the abortion-related measure to the activists in the galleries.

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