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Thu March 6, 2014
Two More Texas Abortion Clinics Close Following New State Restrictions
Two more Texas abortions clinics are closing because of new restrictions placed on the facilities by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
Ten clinics have already closed because of a new law, which strictly limits where, when, how and from whom women can obtain abortions.
Amy Hagstrom Mill owns the Whole Woman's Health Clinic. She said Thursday that Republican lawmakers have made it impossible to keep her clinics open in Beaumont and McAllen, The Associated Press reports.
The McAllen clinic is the last in the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas, while the Beaumont clinic is the only one between Houston and the Louisiana border.
"We are devastated to announce that we're closing our clinics in McAllen and Beaumont this week," a post on the abortion provider's Facebook account says. "After serving women in these communities for over 10 years, Texas politicians have forced us to shut our doors."
During a 2013 special legislative session, Republican lawmakers approved new regulations on abortion that require physicians who perform the procedure to have hospital-admitting privileges within 30 miles of the facility, and follow FDA standards, rather than common evidence-based protocols, for administering drug-induced abortions. The rules also ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation.
In September, additional rules take effect requiring abortion facilities to meet the regulatory standards of ambulatory surgical centers; only five of the 22 existing abortion facilities in Texas currently meet those standards. ...
In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night, Amy Hagstrom Miller, the founder of Whole Woman's Health, said she was struggling with the closures because of the state's need for abortion services.
"It may have taken me a little too long to accept it," she said. "I don't back down easily because the need is still here. That's what's so heartbreaking."
But Melissa Conway, spokeswoman for the anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life, said the closures did not come as a surprise. She said she expects to see more abortion clinic closures, calling them a "reflection of the will of the people."
"It is clear Texans are no longer willing to accept the predatory practices of abortion providers who fail to place the value of a woman's health and safety or the life of a pre-born Texan in greater importance than their own personal financial gain," Conway wrote in an email.
Ilyse Hogue, NARAL Pro-Choice America president, released this statement: “The closure of Whole Women’s Health clinic is a tragedy for women in Texas and indicative of the cost when we allow politicians to use deceitful back-door tactics to rob us of our fundamental rights. The majority of Americans support a woman’s right to choose the healthcare and reproductive options best for us, yet anti-choice lawmakers have run rough shod over that sentiment and now are endangering the lives of the state’s most vulnerable women. While it is our hope that this bill will be overturned, this situation is a painful reminder of why we need federal legislation like the Women's Health Protection Act to ensure that the Constitution and women’s rights, regardless of where they live, are respected.”
The Associated Press and The Texas Tribune contributed to this report.