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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/6/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Only 20 of state's 40 clinics remain open; number of clinics could dwindle to as low as six

Signing a sweeping anti-abortion law in 2013, Texas' anti-abortion law has had tremendous success in closing abortion clinics and restricting abortion access in Texas. Many agree that this will remain in effect, whether or not the Supreme Court will approve of the law that created them.

There were more than 40 clinics that provided abortions in Texas in 2011; only 20 remain open.

There were more than 40 clinics that provided abortions in Texas in 2011; only 20 remain open.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/6/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Texas, abortion, laws, courtroom


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Passed by Texas Governor Rick Perry, the law is already winding its way through the legal system. Such a decision is likely a year or even years away.

There were more than 40 clinics that provided abortions in Texas in 2011; only 20 remain open. All but six are expected to close, after the law's last steps of implementation are taken in September. Most of the closed clinics will never reopen, their operators say.

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Remaining shuttered for years only to belatedly reopen afterwards is very bad business. That's truer for clinics, providers say. Finding qualified doctors, getting new licenses as well as meeting state health department regulations is far too high a hurdle for the majority of the clinics. It's even far more difficult for a state where a sizable portion of the public is vehemently opposed to abortion and is highly unwilling to facilitate it.

"I can't find anyone to deliver water or resurface the parking lot, because they're against abortion. I can't get someone to fix a leak in the roof," Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Women's Health says.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which covers Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, upheld the law as constitutional. The court also declined a request to keep two of the law's provisions, both of which were instrumental in the clinic closures, from taking effect before the legal struggle over the law is completed.

Clinic closures are only expected to increase as the law phases in a set of requirements for abortion facilities. The first set of requirements includes that doctors performing the procedure have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. This went into effect last November, prompting many clinics to close. The final set of restrictions, that all abortions, including drug-induced, be performed in ambulatory surgical centers, takes effect in this coming September.

Hagstrom Miller's company had five abortion facilities and one ambulatory surgical center in Texas in 2013. Two closed as a result of the admitting-privilege requirement in March, and it's likely that only the surgical center in San Antonio will remain by September.

"The opposition has been extremely strategic," Hagstrom Miller said. "This law is perfectly crafted."

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