Woman Complains She Had to Drive 600 Miles to Abort Her Baby

Opinion   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 27, 2016   |   6:30PM   |   Washington, DC

Ahead of today’s devastating U.S. Supreme Court decision, a Texas woman lamented the hurdles she had to go through to have an abortion after the state’s abortion clinic regulation law went into effect.

In a column for Motto, Kathryn Holburn explained how she got pregnant in 2014 while she was working as a waitress and going to college in Lubbock, Texas.

“I knew I wasn’t ready to be a mother, and while my decision to have an abortion wasn’t an easy one, I knew it was the right choice for me,” she wrote.

She complained that the law shut down about half of the 40 abortion facilities in Texas, facilities that could not meet basic health and safety standards. Because her local abortion clinic shut down (meaning it could not or would not comply with the basic safety regulations), Holburn said she had to travel 600 miles round-trip to have an abortion.

She wrote:

I was left choosing between bad and worse: Drive 600 miles west, round-trip to Albuquerque, or 600 miles east, round-trip to Dallas. The expense of travel, hotels and foregoing work shifts added hundreds of dollars onto the cost of a procedure. Either way, I was faced with a five-hour drive just to get the procedure. Even then, the remaining clinics were so overwhelmed by the closures that there were no guarantees I’d even be able to see a doctor in Dallas, where women have been forced to wait as long as 20 days just to get an initial appointment. I ended up driving to New Mexico.

I was fortunate that I could scrape together the nearly $800 it took for me – but just barely. If I’d had a little less money, or if I didn’t have reliable transportation or a job that let me take several days off in a row, my right to make decisions about my body would have remained nothing but an abstract concept.

Holburn called the Texas regulations “excessive” because, she argued, abortion is safer than childbirth. That myth that has been debunked numerous times.

She ended with this statement to Texas legislators: “I want them to know that the choice they want to take away does not exist as some hypothetical ideal, but belongs to a human being who is every bit as real as they are.”

However, pro-life Texas legislators were recognizing human beings when they enacted the law; it has been credited with saving more than 10,000 unborn babies’ lives. It also protected women by requiring that abortion facilities meet the same health and safety standards that other legitimate health care clinics do.

However, the Supreme Court overturned the law today in a move that pro-lifers say will open the door to more abortion industry abuses from the likes of Kermit Gosenells — referring to the jailed Pennsylvania abortion practitioner who notoriously killed and injured women at his shoddy Philadelphia abortion center.

Leading pro-life groups were unanimous in their condemnation of today’s Supreme Court ruling overturning a portion of a Texas pro-life law requiring abortion facilities to follow reasonable protections for women’s health.

The 5-3 decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt shows the paramount importance of judge’s in this year’s presidential election. In approving the appeal from abortion companies, the Supreme Court did not allow Texas’ pro-life law to stand.



At issue in the ruling were two provisions–that abortion clinics meet the same building standards as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) and that abortionists have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital for situations of medical emergencies.

Texas’ law is arguably responsible for saving the lives of tens of thousands of unborn babies by closing abortion clinics that are unable to protect women’s health. The laws protects women’s health and welfare by requiring abortion clinics to meet the kinds of medical and safety standards that legitimate medical centers meet.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who authored the ruling opinion, wrote that “the surgical-center requirement, like the admitting privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions and constitutes an ‘undue burden’ on their constitutional right to do so.”

Justice Clarence Thomas, who authored the dissenting opinion, wrote, “Today the Court strikes down two state statutory provisions in all of their applications, at the behest of abortion clinics and doctors. That decision exemplifies the Court’s troubling tendency ‘to bend the rules when any effort to limit abortion, or even to speak in opposition to abortion, is at issue.’”