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Texas’ Abortion Law Closes Several Clinics

Update Date: Mar 07, 2014 03:17 PM EST
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Texas' abortion law has continued to wreak havoc on abortion clinics throughout the state. On Thursday, Whole Women's Health had to shut down two of their clinics, one located in McAllen and the other in Beaumont. The law, which was passed last summer, has now officially closed down 19 abortion clinics. Currently, only 24 clinics offer services to a state that has roughly 26 million women.

"It's heartbreaking for us," said Amy Hagstrom Miller, the chief executive of Whole Woman's Health, reported by the New York Times. "It's been a very difficult decision. I tried everything I can. I just can't keep the doors open."

Paula Saldana, a women's health care educator in McAllen, added, according to CBS News, "When women come up to me and they are in desperate circumstances and they ask where they can go, I will not have a place to send them."

Both of the abortion clinics were forced to shut down because they violated the new law stating that clinics must have doctors with admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. However, Miller stated that the clinics' doctors could not get these admitting privileges. In some cases, the hospitals declined to offer the doctors an application.

Another part of the law, which will go into effect by September, requires clinics to meet surgical-center standards. This means that when a woman comes into a clinic to get an abortion or even for nonsurgical procedures, the clinic must offer a room that resembles a hospital operating room. This requirement forces clinics to somehow find the funds to update their rooms, which could be an extremely hard task. This particular aspect of the law could reduce the total number of available abortion clinics within the state to just six.

These closings will now force women to drive hours for an abortion. Proponents of the law argue that even though women might have to go further for the procedure, at least they would be receiving a higher level of care. The supporters believe that this law would make abortion clinics safer, which in turn, will protect women's health.

"We are pleased that women will never again receive substandard care from either of these abortion facilities," commented Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life.

Critics and opponents to the law believe that the law was designed to force abortion clinics to close down as opposed to helping these clinics improve their standard of care. By taking away relatively easy access to abortions, some Texans, who cannot drive over three hours to a clinic in another city, might no longer be able to get the procedure done.

"These health centers provide lifesaving preventive care, cancer screenings and birth control to Texan women," state senator, Wendy Davis said. "Politicians like Greg Abbott are forcing their personal political agenda and threatening the health of women across the Rio Grande Valley."

Despite the supporters' claim that the new law will improve the quality of women's health care, those living between Houston and the Louisiana boarder, stretching 400-miles, will have no clinics to turn to.

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