While protesters dressed in black shouted ‘shame’ from the corridors of the Texas Capitol Thursday morning, Gov. Rick Perry celebrated a long-deferred victory by putting his signature on one of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws.
“Today’s signing definitively builds upon our continued commitment to protecting life in the state of Texas,” Perry said before signing the bill.
After weeks of women-led protests, an all-day Democrat filibuster, and two rounds of special legislative sessions (ordered by Perry) that kept Texas politicians working into their summer break, the governor signed the anti-abortion measures passed last week by the state Legislature into law Thursday morning.
Perry was joined Thursday morning by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and fellow Republican lawmakers, who all praised the new law, arguing that it improved the quality of care for women in the state.
“In signing House Bill 2 today, we celebrate and further cement the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built,” Perry said.
Speakers at the ceremony also criticized protesters for creating chaos in the last few weeks at the Capitol, calling it “intentional chaos.” They joked about how long it took for the legislation to succeed.
The law bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, requires abortions be performed in ambulatory surgical centers, mandates that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the facility, and requires doctors to administer abortion-inducing drugs in person. The law also imposes new building standards for abortion facilities across the state, such as widening hallways and specific requirements for the flooring and outfitting of janitors closets.
Currently, only five of the 42 abortion providers in Texas meet the new requirements. The Huffington Post reported Thursday after the bill’s signing that three Planned Parenthood clinics have announced they will close.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards told msnbc’s Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday that the bill passed in Texas was part of the Republican’s persistent war on women.
“I think it’s a growing theme unfortunately in many states where politicians are putting their own political agenda ahead of women’s health care,” Richards said.
The Texas Legislature was called back into session by Perry after Republicans failed to approve the abortion measures in the last special session, which ended in an all-day filibuster led by State Sen. Wendy Davis.