The Texas Legislature is taking a step closer to ending restrictions on abortion after Gov.
Greg Abbott signed a bill that allows doctors to perform late-term abortions without the use of anesthesia.
The bill passed the Senate on Monday with an overwhelming bipartisan vote.
The Senate is expected to approve the bill, which will take effect next week, as well as a companion bill in the House, which passed a similar bill last year.
The Texas Tribune thanks its sponsors.
If Abbott signs the bill into law, the state would only require clinics to have the use a fetal heartbeat, or a physician’s instructions to do so.
Doctors who perform late abortions would have to be accompanied by a hospital emergency room physician.
The law would not require clinics or doctors to meet the standards of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or the American Medical Association, nor would it require clinics and doctors to use a transvaginal ultrasound, which some experts say is unnecessary.
The bill requires clinics and physicians to perform the procedure in the safest way possible, and is meant to protect women and babies.
The American Medical Society says abortion is a medical procedure, and the AAP does not require any kind of anesthesia in late-clinic abortions.
But the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Association of Pregnancy Centers say there are no medically-safe alternatives.
The ACLU and the ACLU of Texas said that the bill would force doctors to put women’s health and safety first.
A state law requires hospitals to have an abortion room, which is an incubator that can hold the fetus.
The new bill says a hospital must have the room to allow a physician to do an abortion if the pregnancy is viable and not life-threatening.
It also prohibits abortion clinics from providing abortions in the emergency room.
Texas has strict abortion laws that require clinics with 20 or more patients to have a doctor with surgical or medical experience and who has completed a surgical abortion.
The state allows abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in some circumstances, but only after a doctor has performed an abortion.
The Legislature approved a bill in 2016 that would have allowed doctors to provide abortions after 25 weeks of gestation.
The law, which would have made Texas the sixth state to have some form of abortion restriction in place, failed in the state House.
Rick Perry vetoed the bill.
The governor’s office said Perry had been “very clear” that he wanted to end the abortion restrictions, but that he was concerned about potential backlash from women who believed the state could be penalized for not enforcing the law.
A federal judge last month temporarily blocked the law from taking effect until the case could be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.