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The Last Two Rural Abortion Clinics in Texas Close

A third of Texas' abortion clinics have now closed due to HB 2, including remaining clinics in the Rio Grande Valley and East Texas.
by Published on
Pro-choice protesters chant outside the Senate chamber
Patrick Michels
Pro-choice protesters chant outside the Senate chamber minutes before lawmakers sent House Bill 2 to Gov. Perry's desk.

Following the legalization of abortion in 1973, the first abortion clinic to open in Texas was in the small town of McAllen. Today, after serving women from the Rio Grande Valley and northern Mexico for more than forty years, the McAllen clinic closed for good. Another clinic in Beaumont that had provided abortions to women from East Texas and Louisiana also closed its doors today. The two clinics were the last ones remaining in rural Texas.

Whole Woman’s Health, a network of abortion facilities that operates both the McAllen and Beaumont clinics, cited in a statement the “burdensome and medically unnecessary hurdles places by Texas legislators in House Bill 2” for the closures.

Specifically, Whole Woman’s Health points to a clause in HB 2 that requires all abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Doctors who were unable to gain admitting privileges from their local hospitals because of bureaucratic obstacles or local politics stopped providing abortions on October 31, when portions of the bill went into effect. Overnight, 14 of Texas’ 36 abortion clinics ceased serving patients.

Neither the McAllen nor the Beaumont clinics could gain privileges at local hospitals and so haven’t provided abortions since November. Instead, they have provided follow-up care to women who’d previously had abortions at the clinic, or who had induced abortions themselves.

With today’s closures, there are only 20 abortion clinics remaining in Texas, according to Whole Woman’s Health. (Update: Research from RH Reality Check’s Andrea Grimes estimates the current number of open clinics at 25).”Women seeking to terminate a pregnancy must now travel to Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, El Paso or Corpus Christi, a journey that could entail hundreds of miles for patients from the state’s far-flung corners. Whole Woman’s Health noted in a background brief that those most likely to struggle to obtain an abortion now will be low-income women, women of color and rural women. Indeed, more than 22 percent of Beaumont’s population is below the poverty line while McAllen has one of the highest poverty rates in the United States.

“A pre-Roe landscape is now emerging in Texas where your ability to receive abortion care is determined primarily by your socioeconomic class and zip code,” Whole Woman’s Health noted. The Beaumont abortion clinic treated 1,200 women annually while the McAllen facility provided abortions to roughly 1,700 women per year.

Proponents of abortion rights in Texas predict dire health consequences from the closures. “Valley residents who do not have the ability or the means to drive to San Antonio or Corpus Christi [may] take matters in their own hands,” Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas told the Observer. “Based on what we’ve been hearing from medical providers, women have already been attempting to induce by taking pills and herbs and other home remedies. These could be ineffective or dangerous.”

Amy Hagstrom Miller explained to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last night just how dangerous those practices might be. “People go over the border, they try to get medication to try to self-induce an abortion, and so sometimes they’ll come to us afterwards for an ultrasound to see if they’re still pregnant,” Hagstrom Miller said. “We have seen women putting things into their vagina, trying to dilate their cervix. We’ve seen women asking their partner to beat them, just the same stories we’ve heard pre-Roe. We’ve seen women douching with coke or douching with Lysol. We’ve seen people taking a lot of herbs.”

Meanwhile, the anti-abortion group Texas Alliance For Life, which argued that HB 2 was necessary to improve patient safety, was delighted by the closures. “We are pleased that women will never again receive substandard care from either of these abortion facilities,” said Joe Pojman, Texas Alliance for Life’s director in a press release.

Tonight in McAllen, abortion rights activists including NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, the ACLU of Texas, the Texas Freedom Network and Progress Texas, will rally outside the shuttered clinic to protest the law that brought about these closures.

  • kfletch87

    This article gets a lot of things wrong. Some of these abortions are closing for other reasons. The two recent closures have been cited on numerous occasions for unsanitary conditions and having no nurse on duty. The one in Beaumont, I believe, was actually already planning on closing because they have a 76 year old doctor that wants to retire and they can’t find anyone to replace him.

    • madewar

      More Faux Noise type misinformation

      • kfletch87

        Are you saying the information I just stated was false? Wow, you are truly misinformed.

    • http://www.womens-clinics.co.za sam walter

      Abortion clinics are seen in a very different manner cos you are right some of these abortion clinics were closed because of different reasons

  • kfletch87

    Also, if dumb women do dumb things, they are…wait for it….DUMB. If they are so stupid that they think their only option is to ram a close hanger up their privates to kill the life THEY created when they engaged in CONSENSUAL activity, than that’s THEIR problem. I don’t sympathize with baby killers.

    • madewar

      Guest, you remind me of those during the presidential debates who applauded when Obama asked if those who don’t have insurance should be allowed to die. Disgusting and so unChristian that you make me sick to my stomach thinking you actually live in this country.

      • guest

        You get sick to your stomach because people who don’t support murder make their beliefs known? I don’t even know what you are referencing, I don’t recall people cheering for people to die and if you’re saying that Obama supporters cheered, so? They cheered because they are stupid enough to believe that Republicans or those who oppose the ACA want people to die. No, we want people to take responsibility, if they want to be healthier, eat right, live right, and buy insurance when you’re healthy not when you’re sick or about to die. We have programs in place for those who are destitute or in dire situations. No one has talked about cutting Medicaid or Medicare. In fact, Republicans have on numerous occasions tried to fix the problems with these programs (which are often times abused, taking away resources from those who TRULY need them).

        I’m more concerned that people like you live in a fantasy world where you actually believe the crap people like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Obama, and all the other dimwitted liberals who lie about the motives of the Republicans only for purposes of instilling fear so that you will vote D and shun those who vote intelligently.

  • kfletch87

    And anoooother thing, notice this article only references the quotes from Whole Women’s Health and takes them at their word for it? Unnecessary and burdensome and unnecessary hurdles? Naturally, as they have something to lose, they would shift the blame on the state and not the fact that they have been repeatedly cited for the deplorable conditions in their clinics.

    lol, what a joke.

    • madewar

      More faux noise type misinformation. The overwhelming majority of these clinics are wonderfully clean and safe facilities. The proof is in the exceptional safety record of abortions in the US.

  • John Doe

    The
    bottom line is if people will wait until marriage and until they are
    sure they can afford and want to have and raise children before having
    sex, then there will not be an unwanted pregnancy (except for rape). If
    pregnancy was a result of rape and one cannot raise children, then
    there are many loving families who would love to have a child. Abortion
    is nothing but murdering an innocent defenseless child. I am happy to
    see this abortion mill shut down. Choosing to have sex means choosing
    to have children and in my book, that is what is pro choice. If you do not want children, then do not have sexual intercourse. It is called personal responsibility. Pregnancy is a result from having sex and if you do not want to pick up the other end of the stick with it, then do not even touch the one end of it. People need to learn to accept the consequences.

    • madewar

      John Doe its too bad you are such a holier than thou critic. You don’t live in the real world.

  • Lorraine R

    State Senator Dan Patrick told his colleagues to ask themselves: “How would God vote tonight if he were here?” Yes, that’s the question HE asked, “How would God vote tonight if He {the Father HE God, that is, from whom “all life comes”) were here? If that’s not ripping off women, I don’t know what is. No, all life does not come from God the Father, men, and males. Too many fundamentalist men believe that since “all life comes from males” and neither women nor a God/dess create life, women can only kill life that is made only by men and an all male God. She could not possibly have a roll in creating life, and should not have a choice about whether she will create life or not, because she does not have the power to create life–only men and male Gods have that power. All life is created only by God the Father.

    Women need to start asking, “How would God/dess vote tonight if SHE were here?” She would vote on the side of women and tell GOP men to quit stealing life from Her and women. SHE would let them know that all life does NOT come from men and males. She would tell them to quit robbing life from women and God/dess against their will and Hers. It is She and women who should decide whether to give life, which involves a good deal of pain and sacrifice. Men should not be able to force women to undergo this pain and make these sacrifices when such sacrifices are not required of men. She would tell tham to quit invading, conquering, usurping, and stealing women’s bodies and lives. To do so is demonic, because they are doing it in the name of their ALL MALE idol God.

    After all, if God is male (and fundamentalist men (& some women) all know HE is), male must be God. That means men and the government men create (and it has been mostly men who have created it, especially in Texas) should be able to impose their religious beliefs upon women, to rob women of their religious liberty, and make all of women’s decisions for them (since women are not really persons able to make decisions about the most basic aspects of their lives themselves). What arrogance! How can anyone vote for or support such demonic men? Why don’t women rise up and throw these men out? This makes me give more credence to the atheists and secularists who say “Christianity must go.” If this is what so-called “Christianity” has turned into, I guess I must agree.

    Women and the God/dess should never be forced to give life against their will. The proper attitude toward women and the God/dess who chose to give life should be gratitude for life freely given by choice. Only when life is given through choice, when the Spirit of balance and righteous love prompts women as does their human reason, when the circumstances of their lives are right, is life given righteously. The proper attitude toward such a great gift should be gratitude for the great sacrifices women are making to do this and the great love out of which they are choosing to do so. It should never be force, theft, conquest, tyranny, cruelty, or hatred.

    Strange that these GOP men think they should be able to defend their own freedom and property with guns; but they should be able to invade, usurp, and steal women’s bodies, blood, lifeforce, and freedom at will. It is not only grossly immoral, but against the will of God for any man, woman, fetus, zygote, child, or government to invade, coerce, conquer, steal, usurp, or rob a woman of her body, blood, or lifeforce against her will. It should be her choice, in conversation with her family, doctor and God. It is a violation not only of her civil rights and free will, but of her religious freedom to steal life from her against her will. It is a violation not only of the constitution of the United States, but of God’s will. Those who commit such robbery in the name of their idol ALL MALE God are in league with the Devil and headed for hell.

  • 1bimbo

    how scary is it that some of these clinics that they can’t muster higher standards in healthcare. and the women who they claim are mutilating themselves need mental healthcare

    • madewar

      Those “higher standards” are total bunk only intended to make women find horrible alternatives. Abortions will not go away. They will simply go underground. Of course the rich can fly anywhere, but those who need this help the worse, the poor, will be the ones who suffer. Getting a colonoscopy is MUCH more dangerous than an abortion, but those facilities are not required to have surgical center.

      • kfletch87

        You think the higher standards are to MAKE people stick hangars up their vag? Murders won’t go away either, but it’s still illegal to kill someone…Getting a colonoscopy is NOT as dangerous as an abortion. While an abortion very very rarely ends in death, it leaves MUCH more damage than a colonoscopy, both physical and mentally (especially mentally). Women who have abortions after 20 weeks are often left with permanent damage to their reproductive organs, and often time will suffer from hemorrhaging or other complications…most of which are purposefully never reported. Why? Because that would make abortion clinics look bad. Ask emergency room physicians if there are complications…what’s that? One of Texas’ legislator IS an emergency physician? What’s that? She HAS seen complications from abortions that can’t be linked back to the clinic the procedure was done? Wow, thought they were the safest clinics in the medical field, why on Earth would they need higher standards?

        The fact that a woman DIED in Philly because the paramedics couldn’t get a gurney through the hall to get this woman out of the clinic is reason enough to make this a requirement. Abortion is not just a take a pill procedure. There ARE risks involved. Not to mention, IT’S MURDER!!!!!

        • madewar

          Seems you have been brainwashed by the OPTOMETRIST, Campbell, who prefers to legislate by anecdote and Faux Noise. I know I will not change your mind, but know that you are not getting truthful information and even the Texas Medical Assn, the College of OB Gyns in England and the AMA all agreed that this law was a bunch of bunk and not based on any science or true professional medical opinion.

          • guest

            She is an ophthalmologist, not an optometrist. She also is an emergency room physician. Her medical opinion holds much more weight than yours. “As a medical doctor who has completed college and at least eight years of additional medical training, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery.” She has much more training than an Optometrist. And no, medical professionals do NOT all agree that these laws were based on bunk science. We know more about fetal development than we did just 5 years ago.

            You do know that one of the main factors in the death at Gosnell’s clinic was the fact that the paramedics could not even get a gurney TO the patient, right? What science was needed for these laws to be put in place? The law that requires they follow FDA guidelines when administering pills? Seems like you should point your frustration at the Feds and not Texas.

            What about the 20 week ban? You support late term abortions? Just because opinions differ from yours, does not give you the authority to discount all medical professionals opinions. The fetal pain argument is supported by many physicians, despite your claims.

            What exactly is so bad about this law? The fact that we are making abortion clinics bigger so they can support paramedics should the need arise? The fact that we require they follow the FDA guidelines when they administer the pills? The fact that it bans abortions after 20 weeks, unless the health of the mother is at risk? Seriously, I am confused. This law has been demonized by the left and the stupid liberal hippy Austinites who had NO clue what this law would do.

          • madewar

            Just like Damn Donna, you want legislation by anecdotes. You seem to me to be one of the least compassionate persons I have ever had contact with outside seriously mentally ill patients. BTW, The overwhelming majority of the medical profession were against the law as unnecessary and ridiculous.

          • trueroxfan

            What anecdotes are speaking of? Exactly how do you think legislation comes to the proposal stage? Do you think legislators and groups sit around all day thinking of different regulations to add? No, they come from anecdotal evidence. Something happens and then something is proposed to ensure it can’t happen again.

            I’m the least compassionate person because I don’t have sympathy for stupid, slutty women and irresponsible men? Get a condom. Get birth control. Those services are still provided by the state of Texas from the THOUSANDS, literally THOUSANDS of other women’s health program participants. But you didn’t bother to even consider that, did you?

            Of course not. Because what is important to you? Being able to take care of that nasty problem, also known as a human life that has been conceived by two consenting adults. THEY are responsible for getting pregnant, the mother and the father. They’re too poor to have a kid? Damn, probably should have though about that before shooting your load into her vag. Scared about having a kid? Awww too bad, should have thought of that before you got so drunk you opened your legs for a some stranger. Awww you had plans to go to college and become a doctor? Too sad, probably should have used your brain, especially since you want to be a doctor.

            Whether you like it or not, a fetus is a human. It is a separate organism from the host (ie mother), with completely unique DNA. It is a SEPARATE human being. It’s residency doesn’t give the mother the authority to execute it.

            You talk about compassion? Hah.

            The overwhelming majority of the medical profession was opposed to a bill that would put more regulations on their profession?! No way! I’m so utterly surprised!

            The overwhelming majority of TEXAS CITIZENS oppose late term abortions and refuse to sit by idly while these whorish women are given the legal rights to exterminate their own creation.

            Meanwhile, those who DO have these procedures are subjected to unsanitary and dangerous conditions. You have absolutely NO idea what you are talking about, because you have not bothered to even research the extent of complications associated with abortions. The vast majority of patients experience problems, however, linking these complications with specific clinics is nearly impossible because of the unprofessional and cruel methods by which most of these clinics operate. Informing patients they shouldn’t go to an emergency room, to call nursing staff at the clinic, which (proven) NEVER GETS REPORTED, thereby never affecting their status as a licensed provider. During testimony before the House and Senate numerous nurses and emergency room physicians testified about patients they saw in their clinics/emergency rooms who had experienced complications from abortion procedures, yet they had no way to report these incidents or a way to track them.

            Are you aware of the process of conception? You do know that under normal circumstances it takes a vagina and a penis and the act of sex to conceive, right? You do know that there are numerous methods by which to protect yourself from conception, right? You do know that other than abortion, none of these methods require the elimination of a living organism, right?

            Abortion shouldn’t be a birth control method, it should be a procedure provided under extremely narrow circumstances related to the health of the mother.

            Short story: don’t want to get pregnant? Don’t be a f’ing whore.

            How’s that for compassion?

      • trueroxfan

        Yah that whole wider hallways so emergency gurneys can fit through them is total bull sh!t…it’s not like a woman in Pennsylvania actually died because the paramedics couldn’t get her out of the freaking building due to cluttered narrow hallways….keep digging

  • http://www.womens-clinics.co.za/ dokotor sam

    abortion clinics are seen in a different state cos when you read this article well you will realize there is a gender issue in between that some of us have failed to notice