Since 2011, at least 58 abortion clinics – almost 1 in 10 – have stopped providing abortions or completely closed down. Bloomberg news reports that the main reasons for the closings are clinic regulations, demographic changes, declining demand, industry consolidation, doctor requirements, and crackdowns on unfit providers.
The Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization, records that the number of large non-hospital abortion providers once peaked at 705. By 2008, the most recent year for which info is available, the number was at 591.
Since 2011, 200 abortion restrictions have been passed by lawmakers. Guttmacher reports that that’s almost the same number of restrictions that passed in the 10 years prior.
The majority of the progress that’s being made is through pro-life legislation. Rick Perry is an example of a powerful person who works on behalf of the unborn. In July of 2013, the Texas governor signed a bill, HB2, that made Texas the largest state to pass comprehensive clinic regulations. This controversial bill protects unborn babies after the fifth month of pregnancy and requires abortion facilities to become outpatient surgical centers and their doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Three abortion clinics have already shut down because of the law.
Ohio is also seeing major changes. The Toledo Blade reported in August that the last abortion clinic in Toledo is facing a closure. Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, sees the potential closing as an opportunity for women. He told the Blade: “It’s a great opportunity for women with unexpected pregnancy to go to Toledo pregnancy centers, get some real health care, and find ways to keep the child, raise the child, or put the child up for adoption. The key is to offer more options. … Abortion isn’t the answer.”
The Feminine Health Care clinic in Flint, Michigan just closed its doors. The clinic was thrust into the national spotlight in 2009 when a woman claimed she was held down by a doctor and forced to have an abortion.
In 2012, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed House Bill 5711, which added regulatory requirements for some abortion facilities. It included screening requirements aimed at making sure women aren’t forced into having abortions.
MLive, a Michigan online news source, quoted Pamela Sherstad of Right to Life Michigan on the clinics closing. Sherstad said the number of freestanding abortion clinics operating in the state has declined from 72 in 1987-88 to currently 28. She said at least 10 of the closures occurred in the past three years in the cities of Detroit, Lansing, Muskegon, Saginaw, and Grand Rapids.
Elizabeth Nash, a state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, responded to the changes, saying, “This kind of change is incredibly dramatic. … What we’ve been seeing since 1982 was a slow decline, but this kind of change … [is] so different from what’s happened in the past.”
The news of these closings should give the pro-life movement great hope. This is further proof that our labor is not in vain. Our work is making a difference in the country. Prayers are being heard, lives are saved, and centers of death are closing rapidly.