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CNN, July 10, 2013

The Texas House of Representatives approved a measure today that would place broad new restrictions on abortions in the state, paving the way for the contentious legislation to become law.

House Bill 2 cleared the lower chamber 98-49 after hours of debate over proposed amendments.

A Senate hearing to vote on its version of the bill is scheduled at 10:15 a.m. ET Thursday. There will be no public testimony. It is expected to pass.

The measure seeks to ban abortions past 20 weeks of gestation, mandate that abortion clinics become ambulatory surgical centers, tighten usage guidelines for the drug RU486 and require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic at which they’re providing abortion services.

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

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