The last abortion clinic in Rio Grande Valley, an area in the poorest part of Texas, closed its doors on Thursday evening following new legal restrictions on abortion providers. To place the significance of this closure into context, the rate of self-induced abortions is apparently one of the highest in the country.
Two more clinics run by Whole Woman’s Health were also shuttered that same day.
“It’s heartbreaking for us,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, the chief executive of Whole Woman’s Health, told The New York Times. The organization had previously challenged provisions of the law in court.
“It’s been a very difficult decision. I tried everything I can. I just can’t keep the doors open.”
There were 44 facilities that offered abortion care in Texas in 2011. But after the closings on Thursday, there are now just 19, ThinkProgress reported. According to Abortion Care Network, a national organization of independent abortion providers and allies, that number is predicted to drop to six once the new abortion law, which went into effect last fall, is fully implemented in September.
“Services will only be in the largest cities. There will be hundreds of miles without any safe abortion care,” Charlotte Taft, director of Abortion Care Network, said in a statement.
“With a population of nearly 27 million people, this is a state of emergency for Texas women.”
So, how exactly has Texas’ new abortion law sparked this recent wave of clinic closings?
It comes down to a series of controversial restrictions. For instance, abortion doctors are now required to secure admitting privileges from a local hospital within 30 miles of their clinic, a requirement that ThinkProgree reports is “often impossible to meet.” The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has also publicly opposed this requirement, which it says “singles out” abortion services from other outpatient procedures.
MUST READ: ‘My Abortion’: 26 Women Share Their Stories
Practicing without admitting practices puts doctors at risk of getting their medical licenses suspended. As a result, dozens of clinics were reportedly forced to stop their abortion services in the fall. Many of those shuttered facilities are based in communities with high rates of poverty and uninsurance, so an increasing number of Texas women have been left with no ready access to reproductive services.
And come September, another restriction enforced by the new state law will require clinics to make a series of expensive (and arguably unnecessary) renovations to bring their facilities up to the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. The requirement calls for changes like the widened hallways and water fountain installations.
With clinics facing an onslaught of suspended doctors and smaller patient loads, as well as upcoming new building codes, Hagstrom Miller of Whole Women’s Health recently told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that some clinic owners “simply don’t have the funds to remain open.”
Ultimately, those hit hardest by this new law and subsequent closings are the women of Texas.
“We didn’t change the amount of women in the community who are still going to need the service,” Hagstrom Miller said.
“We just blocked their access to getting it safely.”
Also On HelloBeautiful:
Celebs Tweet Their Thoughts About #JusticeForSandraBland
1. Jesse Williams
#SandraBland's treatment while attempting to travel freely on HER public roadways has been acknowledged as unlawful. She is already dead.
2. Taraji P. Henson
"SAY HER NAME #SandraBland"
3. Ava DuVernay
"'Why are you arresting me?' Because you know your rights. Because I can. Because no one'll believe you. #SandraBland"
4. Kim Kardashian
#WhatHappenedToSandraBland We need answers!!!! This is NOT ok! This is all shady! They need to own up to this & tell the truth!
5. Jussie Smollet
"A loss 4 words. #SandraBlandMatters #BlackLivesMatter 👈🏿tell me this should change once the nation shows that we do. "
6. Snoop Dogg
🙏🌹. Sandra. Rip. 🌹🌹
7. K. Michelle
R.I.P to this queen. This could've been any of us. My prayers go out to her family. #sandrabland https://instagram.com/p/5fvlO_AhCf/
8. Gabrielle Union
SAY HER NAME!!! #SandraBland #SandraBland #SandraBland #SayHerName
"We must get to the cause of #sandrabland death because this CANNOT happen again #deathorfreedom"
10. David Banner
"When will we fight back. A man's duty on earth is to protect women and children. Where are the gangsters? Preachers? We need you. Please."
11. Nicki Minaj
"Rest In Peace #SandraBland"
12. Talib Kweli
"We the people ask @LorettaLynch to investigate #SandraBland #KimberleeRandleKing RETWEET "
Signs. Signs. Signs all around us. The Message is Here. #SandraBland
14. Missy Elliot
"When I look at the #SandraBland traffic video it brings so many emotions😳😢😡😡😤!"
15. Jessie J
"God bless your soul Sandra | #sandrabland | Change needs to come |Justice needs to be served | Heart… https://instagram.com/p/5fV79mQ0aw/ "
16. Jackee Harry
"It's time y'all, it's time.." #SandraBland #BlackLivesMatter
"In memory of #SandraBland these things don't make no kinda sense "
18. Holly Robinson Peete
I really don't look forward to having ANOTHER difficult conversation w my kids tonight...but here we go again😧💔 #SandraBland #SayHerName 😢
19. Jeffrey White
Sadly, doesn't matter by whose hand she died. Unjustified arrested set the outcome in motion. The state murdered her. #JusticeForSandraBland
Sandra could have been your mother, sister, aunt, friend or if she wasn't killed the community outreach advisor A&M. #SandraBland
21. Joan Smalls
"My heart is broken. Sending my deepest condolence to her family and friends. May you find Strength, Peace and Justice. When will this stop? #EqualityForAll #RIP #Why #SayHerName
22. Gladys Knight
Sandra Bland.... #SayHerName #SandraBland
23. Cara Delevigne
Things need to change NOW #SANDRABLAND #Justice #Equality
24. Meek Mill
"Rip to that young lady that lost her life about a traffic stop! 🙏 ima make sure I pray for her and her family! 🙏😄😄😄"