Nine out of 17 abortion providers on staff with Whole Woman’s Health abortion chain in Texas quit when the Heartbeat Act went into effect on September 1, according to The Guardian.
As is common in many states, the “vast majority” of Whole Woman’s Health abortion providers were ‘circuit rider’ abortionists who did not reside in Texas, hailing instead from different parts of the country. For most of them, the stakes simply became too high to continue working in Texas.
Whole Woman’s Health’s CEO and founder, Amy Hagstrom Miller, lamented that “Just because we are complying with SB8 doesn’t stop extremists from saying that we are defying SB8. Even with compliance, there is a reasonable amount of threat that our staff and our doctors have to weigh. There is still so much risk to [the abortionists].”
The Guardian reports that of the eight remaining providers, “[j]ust one of them has agreed to stay on with no questions asked” and “the remainder have agreed to stay on, but only with modifications to their schedules and if legal counsel is pre-emptively secured.”
The national abortion chain’s four active locations in Texas include Austin, McKinney, McAllen, and Fort Worth, where abortion providers hustled 67 abortion patients through in just 17 hours — an average of one abortion performed every 15 minutes — an act applauded by the abortion industry. Besides losing abortion providers themselves, several of the Texas WWH locations have experienced manager resignations as well because of the Heartbeat Act.
Marc Hearron, senior counsel for the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights that is challenging the Heartbeat Act in court, commented that fear of litigation is a powerful motivator for Texas abortion providers when considering whether to keep practicing or pack up. He said, “Even if abortion providers win in every single case brought against them [under SB8], that burden of having to have a lawyer to defend yourself, traveling all over the state to do so – that alone threatens to shut down abortion providers.”
WWH founder Amy Hagstrom Miller was quoted as saying, “Our physicians and staff are thinking about what might be done to them and what they might have to defend. It’s cruel.” The irony of the objective cruelty of destroying an innocent, defenseless preborn person in an abortion apparently escaped her. Second, the providers who opted to stop practicing in Texas were described as no longer feeling that “they are able to continue safely providing this care in Texas.” While the abortion providers themselves may no longer feel able to ‘safely’ perform abortions, in reality women seeking abortion care at WWH affiliates have not been safe for a long time, as these affiliates have repeatedly failed to educate staff on proper sanitation and sterilization procedures for surgical abortion instruments, failed to ensure that staff are CPR-trained, failed to properly store hazardous materials, failed to maintain a safe and sanitary environment, and failed to adequately follow-up with abortion pill patients. And though abortion advocates cheered the 80-year-old abortionist at the Fort Worth location who committed 67 abortions in 17 hours before the Heartbeat Act took effect, there was much that was unsafe about such an action.
The Guardian story noted that Planned Parenthood, the other major abortion provider in Texas, had not experienced the abortion provider defection rate that Whole Woman’s Health did, though the reasons for this discrepancy were not explored.
Predictably, as the population of women legally qualified to access abortion under the law has shrunk, so have calls for ‘assistance’ at groups like The Lilith Fund and the Texas Equal Access (Tea) Fund that provide financial aid and/or transportation to women seeking abortions, which will now be largely funneled to Texas women seeking abortions out-of-state. As Live Action News previously noted, in recent months Texas has bolstered its safety nets for pregnant women in crises, and pregnancy care centers across the state stand ready to aid women and families in need.
Organizations like And Then There Were None have long understood that abortions cannot happen without abortion workers. Undoubtedly, many preborn lives are being saved each day in Texas when abortion providers choose to pack up shop and work elsewhere.
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