AUSTIN, TEXAS— The governor of Texas signed into law Thursday tough new restrictions on abortion after the state legislature approved the measure that intensified passions on both sides of the issue. In state capital Austin, opponents of the law say their fight is not over, even as the battle over abortion has spread to 30 states during the past year.
The Texas Capitol was besieged by emotional protest - those in blue pushing to restrict abortions and opponents of the restrictions wearing orange.
One of them was Krista, an opponent of Texas abortion law, who said, "I don't know, but to me it feels like a political movement backed by religion trying to force the values of a minority of Americans on the rest of us,"
Some anti-abortion protestors, though, who call themselves "pro-life," see this as an ethical issue that goes beyond religion.
For Gloria Jane it is personal, and she expressed regret over the abortion she had as a teenager. "Abortion is just not right, it is just not right, you will feel the pain from it later."
And now Republican Governor Rick Perry has signed the measure, which outlaws abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and requires costly upgrades to abortion clinics.
The law was passed by the Republican-dominated legislature. Democrats promised lawsuits to block its implementation.
National groups pushing for a woman’s right to an abortion, which call themselves “pro-choice,” say the new Texas law is similar to those passed in other states.
Elizabeth Nash follows abortion legislation for the Guttmacher Institute in Washington. "There have been 180 abortion restrictions enacted since 2012 in a total of 30 states, so that is just a huge number of restrictions in a huge part of the country," she said.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that abortion is legal but that the states can regulate it.
So, pro-life groups are sponsoring legislation state-by-state to impose stricter regulations on clinics and doctors who perform abortions, especially late-term procedures. They are gaining ground in Republican-dominated states, although they are facing challenges in court.
In Kansas, a law requiring that women seeking abortions be hospitalized has been challenged by a judge
A new North Dakota law that requires abortion doctors to be given admitting privileges at nearby hospitals also is under challenge. A similar law signed by Alabama's governor has been blocked by the courts.
Abortion opponents are fueled, though, by the recent trial of a Philadelphia doctor convicted of murder in late term abortions at his clinic described as a "house of horrors."
Mallory Quigley, who represents the Susan B. Anthony List, said, “This is a problem that needs to be dealt with now and we have got to stop the abortionists that are brutalizing women, brutalizing late-term children capable of feeling pain.”
In public opinion polls, most Americans do oppose late-term abortions, but a large majority also opposes an outright ban on abortions.