Texas Abortion Laws Could Close More Clinics Across the State

todayJune 17, 2015 1 1

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Written by Kasandra Garza

On Tuesday, June 9, a federal appeals court decided to uphold Texas’s abortion laws (HB2.) These laws have raised national attention as being some of the harshest in the nation. Greg Abbott has stated that these laws are not to close abortion clinics, but to “protect women’s health.”

Founder and Executive Director of the Texas Alliance for Life located in Austin, Jim Pojman, believes that the purpose of the law is to “assure that no abortion is done in the manner that puts the health and safety of women at risk.”

However, Sr. Director of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, Kelly Hart;  stated that during the trial, medical professionals testified that in fact the opposite could be true. If women did not have accessible access to abortion, it could make them less safe. Women would resort to receiving an abortion at a facility that does not meet the safety requirements thus putting them in danger.

The goal and mission of Texas Alliance for Life is to “protect innocent, human life from conception to natural death.”

Pojman stated that “every member of society must be protected, especially innocent human life and that certainly includes an unborn child.”

Hart said that Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas strives to provide preventive healthcare services to women in need, “no matter what.”

Pojman said while the law is not yet in effect,  abortion is going to remain readily available in the state of Texas, as was the case before HB2.

Texas CapitolEach of the major metropolitan areas that have abortion clinics have ambulatory surgical centers and have the capacity to perform large numbers of abortions.

Pojman stated that there “will be 9 or more very large abortion providers in the larger cities. These clinics already exist in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. They also meet the increasing safety standards.”

Hart said that although there are still facilities in the state of Texas, it’s still a significant barrier for women who may have to drive hundreds of miles round trip for this procedure.

At Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, members are working on building a future fund to help women with transportation cost.

Hart said that “having a facility in the state is not the same as having one that’s accessible for all women. We are working to make the procedure as accessible as possible for women in need.”

Pojman said that however harsh the laws may be, the “reality is that the Supreme Court prevents Texas and any other state from banning most abortions. In the meantime, legislature may require that safety standards are adequate so that a woman’s health is not at risk. The legislature may also pass laws to ensure that women have all the information they need before they consent to an abortion.”

Pojman believes that “an unborn child is an innocent human being and is worthy of protection under the laws of the state of Texas, the same as a newborn child.”

Pojman also believes that a common misconception most people don’t understand about the pro-life movement is that “a huge percentage of the pro-life movement is made up of both women and men who have themselves been involved in abortion in the past.”

Pojman said because of their experiences, they now realize that abortion was a horrible experience for themselves and is an “inconceivably horrible” experience for the child.

Hart stated that although the court decided to uphold harsh abortion laws, “Planned Parenthood facilities in the state of Texas will continue to be open in Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, Houston and San Antonio.”

Hart said that Planned Parenthood is “in full compliance with the law. We’ve been a Texas providing healthcare for 80 years and we plan to be a Texas providing health care for another 80 years.”

Hart believes that it is important to remember that the restriction to abortion access did not “come in a vacuum.” Rather, “harmful restrictions and losses to women’s health” have been put in place over the course of several legislative sessions.

Hart said that “the state of Texas has seen the loss of approximately 80 preventative family planning health centers throughout the state.” The state of Texas has also seen a “slash in funding for the family planning budget along with thousands of women who have gone without preventative healthcare.”

“This is just another step in reducing access in a state where we need more access not less,” Hart said. “I think right now what we need to think about is ‘how are these laws in Texas impacting women?’”

Hart said that the “laws are impacting women every day who have seen their basic healthcare provider go out of business and who have been told to drive hundreds of miles for an abortion.”

“Women in Texas are at a critical point and they need help,” Hart said. “They need greater access to all health care services.”

The law is a set of standards that all abortion clinics must meet such as having admitting privileges at a Hospitals within 30 miles of a clinic as well as upgrading all facilities to meet Hospital-like standards. According to USA Today, the court’s decision to uphold Texas’s abortion laws will send a new wave of closures throughout the state of Texas, leaving an estimated 7 clinics out of the 18 currently in operation.

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