Texas Governor Rick Perry has signed new abortion restrictions that could shutter most of the clinics in the state.
The new law bans abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy and dictates when abortion-inducing drugs can be taken. But it also requires abortion clinic doctors to have hospital admitting privileges and restricts abortions to surgical centers. Only five of Texas' 42 abortion clinics currently meet the new requirements.
The law will take effect in October and clinics will have a year to upgrade their facilities.
As he signed the law Thursday, Governor Perry said it would "improve the quality of care women receive," ensuring procedures are performed in clean, sanitary and safe conditions, by capable personnel." He said it "builds upon our commitment to protecting life.''
Critics view the law as over-regulation intended to make abortions harder to obtain. Federal judges have blocked enforcement of similar measures in other states, questioning their constitutionality. Opponents are expected to file similar suits in Texas.
A small band of protesters dressed in black and holding a sign that read, "Shame'' marched outside the governor's office. The legislation had sparked weeks of protests at the Texas State Capitol.