Texas House Provisionally Approves the Bill Wendy Davis Filibustered

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AUSTIN, TX - JULY 01: Supporters of Texas women's right to reproductive decisions rally at the Texas State capitol on July 1, 2013 in Austin, Texas. This is first day of a second legislative special session called by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to pass an restrictive abortion law through the Texas legislature. The first attempt was defeated after opponents of the law were able to stall the vote until after first special session had ended.
Photo: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

Through her filibuster, Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis managed to delay and publicize a bill winding through Texas's House of Representatives that would severely restrict that state's abortion access. But she and her fellow Democrats couldn't kill it. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives provisionally approved the bill by a vote of 98 to 49, along party lines, following a ten-hour debate flanked by activists on both sides. As The New York Times reports, the bill "sailed out of committee after thousands of people registered their positions and more than 500 people testified until 1:45 a.m. on Tuesday." A final, formal vote is scheduled for Wednesday, the AP reports, and it's expected to pass, then go to the Republican-majority Senate, where it will likely pass as well.

The two camps demonstrating outside the House were easy to distinguish, as supporters of the bill wore blue and opponents wore orange. Some House Democrats and female Republicans opposed to the bill carried coat hangers with them to the podium to speak against it, symbolizing the dangerous at-home abortions they say will take place if abortion clinics close.

The bill would "require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, only allow abortions in surgical centers, dictate when abortion pills are taken and ban abortions after 20 weeks," the AP reports. The restrictions "essentially would shut down most abortion clinics in Texas," according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, which added that final approval in the House could come as early as today.