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Texas abortion law passes despite protests

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Texas senate late Friday approved a bill setting some of the strictest limits on abortion in the United States, just weeks after a filibuster by opposition Democrats dramatically thwarted the measure.

The bill -- similar to the one that state Senator Wendy Davis helped block in a 13-hour filibuster on June 25 -- was approved 19-11, with one Democrat joining the Republican majority, local media reported.

Davis became a national hero for Democrats and supporters of abortion. Pro-choice advocates filled the spectator gallery Friday and held rallies outside the state senate, but were unable to stop the measure from being approved.

Republican Governor Rick Perry has vowed to sign the bill into law.

The bill includes a ban on abortions starting at 20 weeks after conception, unless the woman's health is imminently endangered; sets strict requirements for doctors performing abortions; and mandates that a doctor must be present when a woman takes a pill to induce an abortion.

Texas media reported that police tussled with noisy protesters who resisted eviction from the spectator gallery. Some protesters even chained themselves to the railing to avoid being dragged out.

During the June 25 session a raucous gallery crowd was key in preventing the vote from being held on time. There were too many activists for police to control -- a mistake not repeated on Friday, when the capitol was swarming with state troopers.

Police also checked bags and took out items that could be thrown, including bottles suspected of containing excrement and urine, the Houston Chronicle reported.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130713/texas-abortion-law-passes-despite-protests