Half of Texas' Abortion Clinics Close Due to Safety Standards
Since Governor Rick Perry signed a major anti-abortion law in 2013, half of the Lone Star State's abortion clinics have permanently shut down. Although that law may eventually be ruled on by the Supreme Court, it has already had such a significant impact on Texas that the court's final say likely won't matter much.
In 2011, Texas was reportedly home to over 40 abortion clinics. Over the last three years, however, that number has been cut in half; there are now only 20 open, according to a report by the National Journal.
In March, the federal appeals court ruled that state lawmakers have the right require safer circumstances under which a woman may receive an abortion—to include requirements such as hospital admittance privileges, upgraded procedural facilities and a ban on operations after 20 weeks. New safety laws that will subsequently go into effect later this year could reduce the number of Texas abortion clinics even further. As of September 1, abortion clinics in the state will be required to at least meet the safety standards of ambulatory surgery centers.
Supporters of the new laws argue that abortion clinics should be held to the same safety standards as other medical facilities. But critics say the new laws are unfairly squashing the state's existing abortion clinics, even though the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the matter.
"After the law's last steps of implementation are taken in September, all but six are expected to close," the National Journal reported. "Few businesses could survive a years-long hibernation, and that's all the more true for clinics, providers say. The added difficulty of finding qualified doctors, getting new licences, and navigating state health department regulations is a hurdle higher than most closed clinics are likely to clear—especially in a state where a sizable portion of the public is vehemently opposed to abortion and unwilling to aid it in any way."
Still, the abortion business is far-from dead in Texas.
Joe Pojman, Ph.D., Executive Director of Texas Alliance for Life, said during an interview with Breitbart Texas, "There are a lot of abortions to be sold in Texas. During 2011 alone, there were 72,500 abortions in the state. Planned Parenthood has already invested in enormous abortions facilities in Houston, Austin, and Fort Worth."
Pojman pointed to the new $3.5 million abortion clinic being erected in San Antonio, which Breitbart Texas reported on in late March.
"The fact that they are investing $5 million in a huge new abortion facility tells us that they are committed to being a major provider of abortions in Texas," Pojman added.
Despite the new mega-clinic, there does appear to be a definite overall shift towards a more pro-life stance in the Lone Star State. Emily Horne, Legislative Associate at Texas Right to Life told Breitbart Texas, "During the last four or five years, we have seen an immense wave of actions by state governments that said, 'We're a pro-life state and we want to reflect that in our laws.' They're tired of inaction by the federal government."
"In recent years, laws passed in Texas have been effective in ensuring that abortions are performed in a manner that protects the health and safety of women," Pojman added.
Following the court's reflection of pro-life values in March, Governor Perry said, "The people of Texas have spoken through their elected leaders and in support of protecting the culture of life in our state. Today’s court decision is good news for Texas women and the unborn, and we will continue to fight for the protection of life and women’s health in Texas."
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.