Texas Abortion Bill Likely Come Back Despite Filibuster

State Sen. Wendy Davis during her filibuster on the state Senate floor. Texas Tribune streaming video screen grab.
Texas Democrats are attempting to block abortion legislation with a 13 hour filibuster on the state Senate floor. The special session of the Texas Legislature ends at midnight and if the Democrats can keep talking until then — they'll kill Senate Bill 5.

"Additionally, Section 245.023 of the Texas Health and Safety Code ..."

State Sen. Wendy Davis has been going at it since about 11 a.m. and plans to keep going until midnight.

Mark Jones chairs the political science department at Rice University and says even if Davis is successful with her filibuster, SB 5 may still be resurrected.

"I would fully expect Rick Perry, perhaps as early as tomorrow morning, to call a second special session in which he includes abortion-related legislation as one of the agenda items."

SB 5 would place broad new restrictions on abortions in Texas. The legislation prohibits abortions after 20 weeks, requires abortion clinics to upgrade their facilities to the level of ambulatory surgical centers and requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.

Jones says if the legislation passes in a second special session, litigation will be close behind.

"Assuming it passes some time in July, it's going to be held up in the courts. The one component, the fetal pain portion which prohibits abortions after 20 weeks, is something that's unlikely to be implemented any time in the near future."

The provision of the bill that is more likely to go into effect is the restriction of abortions to ambulatory surgical centers. That would at least temporarily shut down 37 of the state's 42 abortion clinics.

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Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...