Politics

Half of Texas abortion clinics close: Planned Parenthood, NARAL concerned

Half of Texas abortion clinics have closed following the enactment of HB 2, a law signed by Governor Rick Perry last year that requires abortionists to obtain hospital admitting privileges within a certain radius of an abortion clinic. The restriction cut the number of abortion clinics from 41 to 20, and it is expected that the number of operating clinics could drop to six by September.

Many abortion clinics shut down due to an inability to comply with the state mandate requiring hospital admittance privileges.

Another restriction, set to take effect on September 1, will mandate abortion clinics in the state upgrade their clinics to become ambulatory surgery centers. Pro-life proponents note that the requirement is a step towards protecting women from abortion complications. However, a lawsuit has been filed by pro-abortion groups to halt the requirement from taking effect.

NARAL Pro-Choice Texas Executive Director, Heather Busby, decried the restriction, calling it a mandate that prevents access and delays abortions. Busby told NPR that because abortion clinics will be required to upgrade to ambulatory surgery centers, it is possible that there will be six to eight abortion centers left in Texas.

“We’re seeing delays,” Busby said. “We’re seeing people being pushed further into pregnancy, having to leave the state, having to drive and sleep in their cars in parking lots because of these barriers to access.”

Recently, Planned Parenthood announced an aggressive push to support Texas Democrats in the 2014 general election. The abortion giant said it will pour $3 million into Texas, namely the race for governor, a key ticket with Democrat challenger Wendy Davis going head-to-head with pro-life Republican Greg Abbott, the state attorney general.

Davis came into the national spotlight for her 2013 filibuster against legislation that would have placed additional restrictions on abortion.

“When women have a chance to know the difference between candidates, they won’t vote for someone who is against them,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Votes.

Planned Parenthood organizers note that they will seek to implement an aggressive grassroots initiative to reach over 300,000 women through door-to-door campaigning, social media, advertising and phone banks.

Texas pro-life groups say it will be difficult to match Planned Parenthood’s massive spending towards Davis’ gubernatorial campaign, and the initiative is a “wake up call” for pro-lifers in the state.

Data shows that the state’s two largest pro-life groups, Texas Right to Life and Texas Alliance for Life, have spent roughly $450,000 in the campaign.

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