Operation Rescue reports the first abortion facility closure in the wake of the recent Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, which upheld HB 2, the sweeping pro-life Texas law which requires safety standards for abortion clinics. Unless the Supreme Court itself intervenes before the law requires full compliance on July 1, many other Texas abortion facilities will shut down.
The Fifth Circuit’s three-judge panel this month upheld HB 2 unanimously, and left the abortion industry scrambling. Texas abortion providers have made an emergency appeal to the US Supreme Court to stop the law from going into effect July 1; the high court has not yet responded to this appeal.
If the Supreme Court does not halt the law before next week, there are no avenues left for the abortion industry in Texas, short of clinic modification to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgery center to ensure women’s safety in abortion procedures, as well as gaining admitting privileges to hospitals.
Although surgical abortion facilities are located in major metropolitan areas near hospitals, abortion providers have had problems getting abortionists with hospital admitting privileges. Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood’s president, said gaining admission’s privileges is a “highly political issue, not a medical issue,” as she explained why they could not easily comply with that aspect of the law.
Meanwhile, the first clinic to close is the Routh Street Women’s Clinic in Dallas. Operation Rescue says that “at least six other Texas abortion facilities that are expected to shut down” without Supreme Court intervention. These include:
• Austin Women’s Health Center, Austin
• Hilltop Women’s Reproductive Center, El Paso
• Houston Women’s Clinic, Houston
• Suburban Women’s Clinic, Houston
• Suburban Women’s Medical Center, Houston
• Planned Parenthood Babcock Health Center, San Antonio
“One of the abortion clinics’ arguments is that closing these facilities will create a hardship on women because that will leave only major metropolitan areas with abortion clinics. However, all the expected closures are in major cities that have abortion clinics that will stay open, with the exception of El Paso where there is an abortion facility in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, just across state lines within a stone’s throw from El Paso.”
Richards said recently that there are no current plans to build new abortion facilities in Texas, which is notable since the abortion giant had been planning a new center in San Antonio.