A Look at Texas One Year LaterPosted: July 18, 2014
Friday marks the first anniversary of the signing of HB 2, Texas’ controversial omnibus anti-choice bill. The anti-choice law has four parts: require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals; make clinics widen hallways, add parking spaces and janitors’ closets, and complete other costly and unnecessary building renovations; mandate doctors use outdated and unsafe protocol for administering abortion-inducing drugs; and ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy with limited exceptions.
In May 2013, before the passage of the anti-choice law, there were 41 family planning clinics in Texas. As of June, there are only 20. In fact, now many family planning clinics that are licensed to perform abortions choose not to provide the procedure anymore due to the medically unnecessary regulations put in place by HB 2. When the final provision of HB 2 goes into effect in September, there may be as few as six or seven facilities left, located in just five major metro Texas cities – Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston.
The number of women who may need reproductive health services living more than 200 miles from a clinic will increase from 290,000 in April to 752,000 in September when the law is in full effect and only six or seven facilities remain. Even more alarming, the number of women more than 50 miles away would increase from 1.68 million to 1.96 million. This unconstitutionally burdensome anti-choice law has already had a large impact on Texas women living outside of major cities with family planning clinics. Women will now have to travel farther to get to family planning clinics, meaning higher costs and scheduling challenges that will delay their access to care. These clinics do much more than only provide abortions, and by targeting these reproductive health facilities, Texas limits women’s access to many fundamental aspects of preventive healthcare and family planning services.