AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) - A controversial bill to restrict abortions has cleared its first hurdle during the second special session.
The Republican-led Texas House of Representatives easily passed the measure Tuesday night known as HB-2 by a margin of 98-49.
After the results of the bill were announced, the House Gallery upstairs remained silent.
Lawmakers saluted members of the public on both sides of the issue.
Earlier in the evening, both pro-choice and pro-life activists gathered in the rotunda and cheered for their cause.
The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks, and add requirements for abortion providers.
After the vote, Democratic state lawmakers spoke of their concerns for victims of rape and incest.
State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston said, “We think they should have the right to a choice, whether they have the child or whether they terminate. The bill sets us back a tremendous amount and back into the dark ages.”
Republicans celebrated, including the author of the bill, State Representative Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker who said, “It was a passionate debate. I’m proud of who we are as a state and for the step we have taken to protect babies and women.”
The House will vote again Wednesday.
The State Senate Health and Human Services committee will vote on the bill as early as Thursday. No word yet when the full Senate would vote.