Half of Texas Abortion Clinics Closed After State Required Them to Protect Women’s Health

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 19, 2019   |   6:07PM   |   Austin, TX

Half of the abortion facilities in Texas closed within the past six years because they could not or chose not to meet basic safety regulations that protect women’s health.

In 2013, Texas lawmakers joined a number of other state legislatures in passing new abortion clinic regulations. The laws largely came in response to the horrors uncovered at Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell’s facility. The Pennsylvania crime case drew widespread attention to a lack of abortion clinic regulations and the dire consequences of not having them.

After Texas passed its law, about half of the 40-plus abortion facilities closed in the state, Houston Public Media reports.

The law required abortion facilities to meet the same medical and safety standards that legitimate medical centers meet. It required abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges to help patients with emergency complications, and it required abortion facilities to meet the same health standards as ambulatory surgical centers.

The Texas abortion regulations arguably are responsible for saving tens of thousands of unborn babies and protecting countless women by closing abortion clinics that were unable or unwilling to protect women’s health.

Several of the facilities that closed belonged to the Whole Woman’s Health abortion chain, which challenged the law in court. State inspection reports obtained by Texas Alliance for Life showed dozens of violations at its facilities that threatened the health and safety of its patients, including lack of sterilization of abortion instruments, lack of an RN or LVN on staff, rusty suction machines, and expired and unlabeled medications. Its facilities in Austin and McAllen also were caught illegally dumping aborted babies’ body parts and were fined $83,000, LifeNews reported in 2012.

The abortion chain re-opened its Austin facility in 2017 after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the abortion clinic regulations law.

Many other Texas abortion facilities remain closed.

At one point, the state had 17 abortion facilities; now it has 22, according to the report. Women also have told researchers that they could not find an abortion facility nearby so they gave birth to their babies instead.

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Here’s more from the report:

The town of San Angelo, for example, once had a Planned Parenthood clinic, but it had to close in 2013. It had been one of the last abortion providers in West Texas, a sprawling, dry and mostly rural region where most residents must drive at least three hours to reach a major city.

Susanne Fernandez, who worked at the San Angelo clinic for almost 30 years, … blames the closure on the 2013 state law, known as House Bill 2, which required clinics that offer abortions to have the same sort of equipment, standards and staffing as surgical centers — and also required the doctors performing abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. She says complying with those rules would have been extremely difficult and expensive. Still, the decision to close the San Angelo clinic was tough.

“The last day was sad. It was somber,” Fernandez says. “We did a lot of cleaning up. We all knew that was it.”

The report bemoaned the fact that some unborn babies were not aborted as a result of the law. Researcher Kari White, with the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Texas, Austin, told the news outlet: “One 23-year-old woman from Waco, a married mother of two, told researchers she made appointments to get an abortion at two different clinics. But both appointments were canceled after the clinics were forced to close. She was unable to end the pregnancy.”

Despite the pro-abortion spin, this is good news for mothers and babies. Women do not need abortions, and unborn babies deserve a right to life.

Meanwhile, in October, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear another case about abortion clinic regulations in Louisiana. With a conservative majority now on the court, pro-life advocates hope the justices will recognize the importance of holding abortion facilities to basic health standards.

Research by Operation Rescue found that abortion facilities are closing all across the United States as abortion rates drop. Since 2012, the number of abortion facilities fell by 159. In 2018, there were 697 abortion facilities in America.