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Friday, July 19, 2013

Online Reaction Is Swift as Texas Abortion Bill Is Signed

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas signs legislation restricting abortion via The Texas Tribune.

Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate took to Twitter on Thursday after Gov. Rick Perry of Texas signed the legislation, House Bill 2, which imposes sweeping new abortion restrictions that prompted weeks of protests online and in the state capital.

As my colleague, Manny Fernandez reported, a small group of protesters holding a sign that read “Shame” gathered in the State Capitol building in Austin to protest as more than 100 Republican lawmakers joined Governor Perry at Thursday's bill-signing ceremony.

State Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat from Fort Worth whose filibuster of the legislation helped block initial passage of the bill in late June, has used the debate as an opportunity to energize Democrats across the state. On Twitter, Ms. Davis posted:

Under the new law, Texas would become the 12th state to ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. The new law would also restricts abortion to surgical centers and requires doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges. Abortion rights campaigners say the new requirements would force the closing of all but a handful of the state's 42 abortion clinics.

Cecile Richards, the daughter of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, has been president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America since 2006. On Twitter, she said that efforts were under way to block the law from taking effect.

On the other side of the debate, the Republican-controlled Texas House Caucus posted.