The Texas House planned to consider an omnibus bill Thursday that would set new restrictions on where, when and how women would be able to obtain abortions. Time was running out on the special legislative session that ends Tuesday. But more than 300 women from across state showed up to the Texas legislature in Austin to testify against the bill, leading to hours of testimony through the night and into early Friday morning, effectively stalling the vote, the Associated Press reported.
House Bill 60 would ban all abortions in the state after 20 weeks, down from the 25-week limit already in place, with the exception of those “necessary to avert the death or substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman” or if the fetus would not survive outside the womb.
The bill would also require all abortion-providing doctors to have admitting priveleges at a local hospital, and be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers, which abortion-rights advocates say would eliminate all but five abortion facilities in the state.
By early Friday morning, Rep. Byron Cook, the Republican chairman of a House committee considering the bill, told the crowd of women they would not be allowed to testify against it because the testimony “has been impassioned, but it has become repetitive,” he said.
This sparked outrage among the women, the AP reported, causing Cook to agree to three more hours of testimony from 50 more women, after which he left the bills without a vote.