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Texas Republicans pass new abortion limits

  • Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, left, throws up her hands as she leaves the Senate Chamber with Sen. Wendy Davis, D-FortWorth, right, after the Texas Senate passed an abortion bill, Friday, July 12, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The bill will 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. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, left, throws up her hands as she leaves the Senate Chamber with Sen. Wendy Davis, D-FortWorth, right, after the Texas Senate passed an abortion bill, Friday, July 12, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The bill will 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. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Sen. Wendy Davis, D-FortWorth, sits at her desk after the Texas Senate passes an abortion bill, Friday, July 12, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The bill will 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. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    Sen. Wendy Davis, D-FortWorth, sits at her desk after the Texas Senate passes an abortion bill, Friday, July 12, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The bill will 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. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • A bloodied anti-abortion rights protester is surrounded by Texas state troopers outside the Senate Chamber after the Texas Senate passes an abortion bill, Saturday, July 13, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The bill will 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. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    A bloodied anti-abortion rights protester is surrounded by Texas state troopers outside the Senate Chamber after the Texas Senate passes an abortion bill, Saturday, July 13, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The bill will 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. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Abortion rights advocates fill the rotunda of the State Capitol as the Senate nears the vote on Friday night, July 12, 2013. Texas senators were wrapping up debate on sweeping abortion restrictions Friday night and were poised to vote on a measure after weeks of protests. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)

    Abortion rights advocates fill the rotunda of the State Capitol as the Senate nears the vote on Friday night, July 12, 2013. Texas senators were wrapping up debate on sweeping abortion restrictions Friday night and were poised to vote on a measure after weeks of protests. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)

  • DPS troopers arrest a woman in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, during the abortion debate on Friday July 12, 2013. Texas Republicans turned back amendment after amendment that Democrats offered Friday to try to change proposed new abortion restrictions, refusing to allow exceptions for cases of rape and incest or expanding exceptions for the health of the mother. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, MAGS OUT; NO SALES; INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM

    DPS troopers arrest a woman in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, during the abortion debate on Friday July 12, 2013. Texas Republicans turned back amendment after amendment that Democrats offered Friday to try to change proposed new abortion restrictions, refusing to allow exceptions for cases of rape and incest or expanding exceptions for the health of the mother. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, MAGS OUT; NO SALES; INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM

  • DPS troopers try to remove a woman who chained herself to a railing at the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, during the abortion debate on Friday July 12, 2013. Texas Republicans turned back amendment after amendment that Democrats offered Friday to try to change proposed new abortion restrictions, refusing to allow exceptions for cases of rape and incest or expanding exceptions for the health of the mother. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, MAGS OUT; NO SALES; INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM

    DPS troopers try to remove a woman who chained herself to a railing at the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, during the abortion debate on Friday July 12, 2013. Texas Republicans turned back amendment after amendment that Democrats offered Friday to try to change proposed new abortion restrictions, refusing to allow exceptions for cases of rape and incest or expanding exceptions for the health of the mother. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, MAGS OUT; NO SALES; INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM

  • Abortion rights supporters rally on the floor of the State Capitol rotunda in Austin, Texas on Friday, July 12, 2013. The Texas Senate convened Friday afternoon to debate and ultimately vote on some of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions, its actions being watched by fervent demonstrators on either side of the issue. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)

    Abortion rights supporters rally on the floor of the State Capitol rotunda in Austin, Texas on Friday, July 12, 2013. The Texas Senate convened Friday afternoon to debate and ultimately vote on some of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions, its actions being watched by fervent demonstrators on either side of the issue. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)

  • People on both sides of the abortion debate gather during the Senate's debate on Friday July 12, 2013, in the Capitol in Austin, Texas. Texas Republicans on Friday defended a sweeping abortion proposal against Democratic attempts to show the tough restrictions were not only unnecessary, but also unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, MAGS OUT; NO SALES; INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM

    People on both sides of the abortion debate gather during the Senate's debate on Friday July 12, 2013, in the Capitol in Austin, Texas. Texas Republicans on Friday defended a sweeping abortion proposal against Democratic attempts to show the tough restrictions were not only unnecessary, but also unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, MAGS OUT; NO SALES; INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM

  • Dave Cortez, right, and other abortion rights advocates scream outside the Senate Chamber during the debate of abortion restriction bill, Friday July 12, 2013, in the Capitol in Austin, Texas. Texas Republicans on Friday defended a sweeping abortion proposal against Democratic attempts to show the tough restrictions were not only unnecessary, but also unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, MAGS OUT; NO SALES; INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM

    Dave Cortez, right, and other abortion rights advocates scream outside the Senate Chamber during the debate of abortion restriction bill, Friday July 12, 2013, in the Capitol in Austin, Texas. Texas Republicans on Friday defended a sweeping abortion proposal against Democratic attempts to show the tough restrictions were not only unnecessary, but also unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, MAGS OUT; NO SALES; INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM

  • A pro-abortion rights protester struggles with Texas state troopers in the Texas Senate gallery as the Senate debates an abortion bill, Friday, July 12, 2013, in Austin, Texas. 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. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    A pro-abortion rights protester struggles with Texas state troopers in the Texas Senate gallery as the Senate debates an abortion bill, Friday, July 12, 2013, in Austin, Texas. 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. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

  • Opponents and supporters of abortion rights rally in the State Capitol rotunda in Austin, Texas on Friday, July 12, 2013. The Texas Senate convened Friday afternoon to debate and ultimately vote on some of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions, its actions being watched by fervent demonstrators on either side of the issue. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)

    Opponents and supporters of abortion rights rally in the State Capitol rotunda in Austin, Texas on Friday, July 12, 2013. The Texas Senate convened Friday afternoon to debate and ultimately vote on some of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions, its actions being watched by fervent demonstrators on either side of the issue. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)

  • Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, left, throws up her hands as she leaves the Senate Chamber with Sen. Wendy Davis, D-FortWorth, right, after the Texas Senate passed an abortion bill, Friday, July 12, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The bill will 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. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
  • Sen. Wendy Davis, D-FortWorth, sits at her desk after the Texas Senate passes an abortion bill, Friday, July 12, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The bill will 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. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
  • A bloodied anti-abortion rights protester is surrounded by Texas state troopers outside the Senate Chamber after the Texas Senate passes an abortion bill, Saturday, July 13, 2013, in Austin, Texas. The bill will 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. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
  • Abortion rights advocates fill the rotunda of the State Capitol as the Senate nears the vote on Friday night, July 12, 2013. Texas senators were wrapping up debate on sweeping abortion restrictions Friday night and were poised to vote on a measure after weeks of protests. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)
  • DPS troopers arrest a woman in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, during the abortion debate on Friday July 12, 2013. Texas Republicans turned back amendment after amendment that Democrats offered Friday to try to change proposed new abortion restrictions, refusing to allow exceptions for cases of rape and incest or expanding exceptions for the health of the mother. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, MAGS OUT; NO SALES; INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM
  • DPS troopers try to remove a woman who chained herself to a railing at the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Austin, Texas, during the abortion debate on Friday July 12, 2013. Texas Republicans turned back amendment after amendment that Democrats offered Friday to try to change proposed new abortion restrictions, refusing to allow exceptions for cases of rape and incest or expanding exceptions for the health of the mother. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, MAGS OUT; NO SALES; INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM
  • Abortion rights supporters rally on the floor of the State Capitol rotunda in Austin, Texas on Friday, July 12, 2013. The Texas Senate convened Friday afternoon to debate and ultimately vote on some of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions, its actions being watched by fervent demonstrators on either side of the issue. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)
  • People on both sides of the abortion debate gather during the Senate's debate on Friday July 12, 2013, in the Capitol in Austin, Texas. Texas Republicans on Friday defended a sweeping abortion proposal against Democratic attempts to show the tough restrictions were not only unnecessary, but also unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, MAGS OUT; NO SALES; INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM
  • Dave Cortez, right, and other abortion rights advocates scream outside the Senate Chamber during the debate of abortion restriction bill, Friday July 12, 2013, in the Capitol in Austin, Texas. Texas Republicans on Friday defended a sweeping abortion proposal against Democratic attempts to show the tough restrictions were not only unnecessary, but also unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Jay Janner) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, MAGS OUT; NO SALES; INTERNET AND TV MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM
  • A pro-abortion rights protester struggles with Texas state troopers in the Texas Senate gallery as the Senate debates an abortion bill, Friday, July 12, 2013, in Austin, Texas. 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. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
  • Opponents and supporters of abortion rights rally in the State Capitol rotunda in Austin, Texas on Friday, July 12, 2013. The Texas Senate convened Friday afternoon to debate and ultimately vote on some of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions, its actions being watched by fervent demonstrators on either side of the issue. (AP Photo/Tamir Kalifa)

Republican lawmakers in Texas have passed a bill that would give the state some of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws and force most of its clinics to close, leading Democrats to promise a fight over the contentious measure in the courts and at the ballot box.

More than 2,000 demonstrators filled the capitol building in Austin, Texas, to voice their opposition to the bill, including six protesters who were dragged out of the Senate chamber by state troopers for trying to disrupt the debate. The Republican majority passed the bill unchanged just before midnight yesterday, with all but one Democrat voting against it.

“Today the Texas Legislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life,” said Gov. Rick Perry, who will sign the bill into law in the next few days. “This legislation builds on the strong and unwavering commitment we have made to defend life and protect women’s health.”

Democrats promised a legal challenge to the measure, which will ban abortions after 20 weeks, require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and require all abortions to take place in surgical centers. Only five out of Texas’s 42 existing abortion clinics meet the requirements to be a surgical center, and clinic owners say they can’t afford to upgrade or relocate.

“There will be a lawsuit. I promise you,” Dallas Sen. Royce West said on the Senate floor, raising his right hand as if taking an oath.

Democrats proposed 20 amendments to the bill, including making exceptions in cases of rape and incest and allowing doctors more leeway in prescribing abortion-inducing drugs. But Republicans would have none of it.

The bill is one of many championed in Republican-led states this year by anti-abortion groups set on challenging the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which established a woman’s right to get an abortion until the point in which a fetus could viably survive outside the womb. A fetus is generally considered viable at 22 to 24 weeks.

Texas falls under the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has shown a willingness to accept more stringent limits on abortions.

By passing the new restrictions, Republicans pleased the Christian conservatives that make up the majority of primary voters. But they inspired abortion rights supporters to protest at the state capitol in numbers not seen in Texas in at least 20 years.

Demonstrators packed normally boring committee hearings to voice their anger over the abortion bill and managed to disrupt key votes. They finished a lengthy filibuster by Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth by jeering for the last 15 minutes of the first special legislative session, effectively killing the bill.

That’s when Perry called lawmakers back for round two. But opponents said the fight is far from over and used the popular anger to register and organize Democratic voters.

“Let’s make sure that tonight is not an ending point, it’s a beginning point for our future, our collective futures, as we work to take this state back.” Davis told 2,000 adoring supporters after the bill passed.

The Texas Republican Party, meanwhile, celebrated what it considers to be a major victory that makes Texas “a nationwide leader in pro-life legislation.”

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