The reproductive health crisis in Texas continues to worsen as yet another clinic has been shuttered in the wake of the state’s sweeping antiabortion law. Whole Woman’s Health of Austin has closed its doors, signaling the loss of yet another independent abortion provider in the state. “The closure today of Whole Woman’s Health of Austin is the result of politicians acting against the women in our state when they passed HB 2,” Whole Woman’s Health CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller said Thursday.
As Andrea Grimes at RH Reality Check reports, there are now just 19 abortion facilities left in the second most populous state in the nation, down from 41 in 2013. Whole Woman’s Health is in court this week fighting for an injunction against the provision of HB 2 requiring facilities to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. If the law stands, “the availability of legal abortion care will potentially be reduced to just five Texas cities: Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio,” Grimes notes.
Hagstrom-Miller mourned the loss of the Austin facility, while expressing hope that Whole Woman’s Health will prevail in court and that the other clinics will remain open: “While Austin has stopped providing abortion care, our Fort Worth clinic remains open and we hold out hope that this trial will allow us to remain open and continue serving that community and possibly even reopen some of the Whole Woman’s Health clinics that HB 2 forced us to close.”
According to a new report from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project on the consequences of HB 2, the number of women of reproductive age living more than 200 miles from a provider has increased by nearly 3,000 percent, from 10,000 women in 2013 to 290,000 in 2014. Weighing in on the new law, lead researcher Daniel Grossman said, “There is no evidence that any of the provisions in this law has improved the safety of abortion in the state. They have just made it harder for women to access the services they want and need.”