Perry defends strict abortion law in Texas

generic National News

By Kevin Liptak

(CNN) — The bill placing new curbs on abortion that passed the Texas legislature last week isn’t anti-women, Gov. Rick Perry argued Sunday.

The contentious bill, which was filibustered last month by state Sen. Wendy Davis, bans abortions past 20 weeks of gestation, among several other provisions. It was approved by the Texas House on Wednesday, and the Senate voted Friday to send the bill to Perry.

The governor, a Republican who supports the legislation and is expected to sign it into law this week, said Sunday 20 weeks is a reasonable period of time for a woman to decide on ending her pregnancy.

“Most people, I think, in this country, and in Texas certainly, believe that six months is too late to be deciding whether or not these babies should be aborted or not, and we put the limit at five months in this bill,” Perry told chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The bill also mandates that abortion clinics become ambulatory surgical centers, tightens usage guidelines for the drug RU486, and requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic at which they’re providing such services.

Critics of the measure say it would shut down most abortion clinics in Texas — denying access to many in rural communities — and force women to seek dangerous back-alley abortions.

In an op-ed on CNN.com last week, Davis wrote the new law would close 90% of abortion clinics in Texas, an assertion Perry contested Sunday.

“I don’t agree with her premise, and I don’t agree with her numbers. And I think history will prove that she is wrong by asserting that,” he said, adding later that Texas had “put some substantial amount of money into women’s health programs over the course of the last two years, partly because the Obama administration pulled our funding to the state of Texas because they disagreed with Texas restrictions on these abortions.”

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