Becca Aaronson reports that at least nine abortion facilities in Texas – a quarter of the Texas total – have stopped providing abortion services.
I keep telling people this and they (some of them) don’t believe me. Yes abortion isn’t yet 100% illegal again, yet, but it is more and more difficult to get one in more and more of the country.
After the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision Thursday to lift an injunction on new abortion regulations in Texas, at least nine abortion facilities — about a quarter of the state’s abortion providers — have discontinued abortion services in light of the new law.
The court’s decision is “having an immediate impact starting today, and what that impact is depends on each woman and where she lives,” said Sarah Wheat, vice president for community affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. Planned Parenthood has discontinued abortion services at four Texas locations: Fort Worth, Austin, Waco and Lubbock. Wheat said staff members began calling patients to cancel appointments Thursday evening soon after the appellate ruling came down.
“Depending on that patient and what her circumstances are, we’re either referring her to another health center in that same community or telling her which cities she’ll have to travel to,” Wheat said.
Victory for the “don’t let the bitches weasel out of it” crowd.
The appellate court’s decision overrules U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel’s ruling that a provision in House Bill 2 that requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital imposed an undue burden on women seeking the procedure. Additionally, Yeakel ruled that it would be unconstitutional for the state to require physicians to follow federal standards for drug-induced abortions if a physician determined it would be safer for the woman to use a common evidence-based protocol.
“The law is in effect and facilities are required to comply effective immediately,” Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the Department of State Health Services, said in an email. “The new requirements will be part of our review criteria when inspecting facilities.”
Abortion opponents and several state leaders are praising the appellate court’s ruling.
Of course they are. More women held hostage to their reproductive machinery.
“While the Supreme Court prohibits state legislatures from banning most abortions, states should have the right to protect women from dangerous abortion procedures,” Joe Pojman, the executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, said in a statement. He said the provisions would increase patient safety and lauded the appellate court for allowing them to take effect.
The appellate court’s decision “affirms our right to protect both the unborn and the health of the women of Texas,” Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement. “We will continue doing everything we can to protect a culture of life in our state.”
By which he means, everything we can to prevent women from having control over their own lives.
“It is a sad and dark day for women in Texas,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and chief executive officer of Whole Woman’s Health, said in a statement. She said Whole Woman’s Health is stopping abortion services at three of its five locations — in Fort Worth, San Antonio and McAllen — because those locations do not have a physician with hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of the facility. Whole Woman’s Health facilities in Beaumont and Austin will continue to provide abortion services.
Well that’s ok, it’s not as if there are large distances to travel in Texas.
The only other abortion provider in the Rio Grande Valley, Reproductive Services in Harlingen, is also discontinuing abortion services, because its physician does not have hospital admitting privileges. That means the closest abortion facility to the Rio Grande Valley is now in Corpus Christi, which is more than 100 miles away from McAllen and Harlingen.
A separate Reproductive Services clinic in El Paso has also stopped providing abortion services. While there is an abortion facility in nearby New Mexico, the closest Texas abortion facilities to El Paso are in San Antonio and Dallas, which are more than 500 miles away. With abortion facilities in Midland and San Angelo recently shuttering, and with the Planned Parenthood clinic in Lubbock discontinuing abortion services, there are vast stretches of West Texas and the Panhandle without a nearby abortion provider.