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State & Local

Texas House provisionally approves tough abortion restrictions

Texas Abortion Bill.jpg

Members of the gallery cheer and chant as the Texas Senate tries to bring an abortion bill to a vote as time expires, Wednesday, June 26, 2013, in Austin, Texas. Amid the deafening roar of abortion rights supporters, Texas Republicans huddled around the Senate podium to pass new abortion restrictions, but whether the vote was cast before or after midnight is in dispute. If signed into law, the measures would close almost every abortion clinic in Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The Texas House has provisionally approved a bill that would enact tough new restrictions on abortions, in its third attempt to pass the legislation following a marathon public hearing last month. 

Lawmakers debated for more than 10 hours Tuesday before voting on the Republican's signature legislation. They approved the bill mainly along party lines. 

A final, formal vote is scheduled for Wednesday. The measure will then go to the Senate, where the Republican majority is also expected to approve the bill. reports opponents of the bill filed more than 20 amendments on the Texas House floor in an attempt to chip away at the bill.

Democrats and women's rights supporters have protested the bill for weeks, but Republican leaders are intent on passing it quickly. 

Supporters say the bill will offer women more protection when they seek abortions, but critics say conservatives are trying to make the procedure harder to get. 

"I believe this body is about to pass legislation that is unconstitutional," said Republican Rep. Sarah Davis said during the debate.

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. 

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The Associated Press contributed to this report