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AUSTIN (AP) – The Texas Senate has given final approval to banning a commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure, sending it to the state House.

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Monday’s 21-9 vote came amid a silent demonstration by a small group of women in costume in the Senate visitors’ gallery. They held up protest signs, but state troopers and Senate officials waiting nearby pulled them down, then escorted the women out.

The bill bans a procedure known as dilation and evacuation, which abortion-rights supporters contend is the safest and most common method used in second-trimester abortions.

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Republicans are pushing efforts they say protect fetuses, which comes after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a major Texas anti-abortion law last summer promoted as protecting women’s health.

Similar bans in four other states have been suspended due to legal challenges.

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