AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed sweeping new abortion restrictions on Thursday that could shutter most of the state’s clinics that provide the procedure, a final step for the Republican-backed measure after weeks of sometimes raucous protests at the state Capitol.
Supporters credited God’s will and prayer as the governor signed the legislation, with protesters’ chants of “Shame! Shame! Shame!” echoing from the hallway. Opponents have vowed to fight the law, though no court challenges were immediately filed.
“Today, we celebrate the further cementing of the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built upon,” Perry told an auditorium full of beaming GOP lawmakers and anti-abortion activists. “It is our responsibility and duty to give voice to the unborn individuals.”
The law restricts abortions to surgical centers and requires doctors who work at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges. Only five of the 42 abortion clinics in Texas – the nation’s second-largest state – currently meet those new requirements. Clinics will have a year to either upgrade their facilities or shut down after the law takes effect in October.