New Restrictions in Texas Cause an Increase in Closures

This past Tuesday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld anti-choice restrictions requiring family planning clinics that offer abortion services to meet hospital-like standards which could cause many of Texas’ clinics to be shut down. These ambulatory surgical center standards are typically put in place for full scale hospitals as opposed to out-patient clinics. These standards include minimum room and hallway sizes, numbers of water fountains and parking spaces and require expensive upgrades that many small reproductive health clinics cannot meet. The majority of existing clinics will be forced to close because they won’t be able to afford all of the changes, leaving Texas with only 7 clinics for a population of 27 million.

This will devastate women’s access to fundamental health care in a state where family planning care is already out of reach for hundreds of thousands of women. The passage of the anti-choice restrictions in question in 2013 has decimated access to basic preventive care.In 2012 Texas had 41 family planning clinics that offered abortion clinics, presently, there remain about 18 (depending on doctors with admitting privileges- You can read the truth about admitting privileges here), and if these restrictions go into effect, there will only be 7.

Already it is believed that the increase in the numbers of abortions in Louisiana can be attributed to Texas women being forced across state lines to access care.  Women living in El Paso, TX, for example, would have to make a 1,200 mile roundtrip journey in order to reach the nearest reproductive health clinic that provides abortions. Traveling requires significant time and money that some women are unable to spend leaving them in a difficult position where they lack the care they need. Unless the Supreme Court decides to block these restrictions, Texas will begin to enforce them in about 3 weeks.

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