POSTED: Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 9:08am
UPDATED: Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 5:21pm
CNN/KETK Staff — Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the controversial abortion bill on Thursday, that gained widespread attention and spurred large protests in the Lone Star State's capital.
The governor was joined by lawmakers and invited guests to sign the legislation into law this morning.
This is an important day for those who support life and for those who support the health of Texas women," Gov. Perry said. "In signing House Bill 2, we celebrate and further cement the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built."
The bill originally failed to gain approval because of a Democratic filibuster led by state Sen. Wendy Davis. Perry called the legislature into a second special session to continue consideration of the bill.
The bill passed the state House and state Senate last week.
The measure bans abortions past 20 weeks of gestation, mandates 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.
The Republican legislators who support it say the bill isn't about banning abortions, but rather about protecting women's health.
Perry, who was a big voice in support of the bill, announced earlier this month that he will not seek re-election next year.
"New research and advanced technology give prematurely-born children a renewed chance at life, which should give us all pause as we argue the definition of viability and consider the human impact of abortion," Gov. Perry said. "Additionally, House Bill 2 ensures that anyone performing abortions in Texas is doing so in a facility that is safe, clean and prepared to deal with any emergencies that might occur - a reasonable, common sense expectation for those caring for the health and safety of Texans."