Lt. Governor David Dewhurst strikes the gavel as the Senate adjourns, Thursday, July 11, 2013, in Austin, Texas. A Senate committee on Thursday pushed through new abortion restrictions, setting up a Senate vote before the weekend to send it to Gov. Rick Perry. The bill would require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, only allow abortions in surgical centers, dictate when abortion pills are taken and ban abortions after 20 weeks. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AUSTIN, Texas The Texas Senate has begun debate on tough new abortion restrictions.
The bill's Republican author said Friday the restrictions are necessary to protect the health of women and babies. Democrats questioned whether the real intent is to make abortions hard to obtain.
Sen. Glen Hegar of Katy said that all abortions should take place in an ambulatory surgical center in case there are any complications, including abortions induced through medications. Democrats pointed out that childbirth is more dangerous and there have been no serious problems with women taking the abortion drugs at home.
Democrats planned to introduce numerous amendments to add exceptions for cases of rape and incest and to remove some of the more restrictive clauses.
Republican Sen. Dan Patrick has said he'll move to stop a lengthy debate.