Controversial Texas abortion bill faces final test

(CBS News) DALLAS - Lawmakers in Texas are expected to vote Tuesday on some of the toughest restrictions on abortions in this country.

The bill's supporters say the measures would raise the standard of healthcare for women and they claim it will protect the unborn from feeling pain.

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The debate before the packed gallery in the Texas legislature lasted until 4 o'clock Monday morning.

Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, stands at the podium where she has hung a hanger from the microphone on the House floor as she attempts to add an amendment to create an exception for victims of rape and incest in Senate Bill 5 during debate at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, June 23, 2013.
Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, stands at the podium where she has hung a hanger from the microphone.
Rodolfo Gonzalez,AP Photo/Statesman.com

The proposed law would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Doctors performing abortions would need admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. And it would make Texas just the third state to require all abortions be performed at centers licensed for surgery.

Opponents of the proposal say the package of restriction could force 37 of the state's 42 abortion centers to close

"Do you want to return back to the coat hanger or do you want to be able to give them the option to be able to terminate their pregnancy because they have been raped?" said Houston Democrat Senfronia Thompson, waving a coat hanger.

Jodie Laubenberg of Parker, Texas, is the bill's sponsor.

Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, center, sponsor of Senate Bill 5, is flanked by fellow Republicans during the second reading of the abortion bill on the House floor of the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, June 23, 2013.
Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, Texas.
Rodolfo Gonzalez,AP Photo/Statesman.com

"This does not prohibit an abortion for any reason, including rape and incest, up to five months," she said. "At this point, we are looking at a baby that's very far along in its development."

Hundreds of Texans on both sides of the issue stayed in the state capitol all night. But the house overwhelmingly approved the bill.

The Texas Senate is expected to vote late unless Democrats can filibuster to Tuesday's midnight deadline. If that happens, Gov. Rick Perry could call another special session and try again.

  • Manuel Bojorquez

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