News / USA

Why Many Texas Abortion Clinics May Stay Open

Police carry pro-choice advocate down stairs of the State Capitol, Austin, Texas, July 13, 2013.
Police carry pro-choice advocate down stairs of the State Capitol, Austin, Texas, July 13, 2013.
Reuters
Most of the Texas clinics that abortion rights advocates predict will close because of a new law requiring tighter health and safety standards likely will remain open — at least if history is any guide.
 
Governor Rick Perry signed the new legislation on Thursday, capping a whirlwind month in which Texas became the center of a national campaign by anti-abortion activists to restrict when, by whom and where the procedure can be performed.
 
Included in the new Texas law are requirements that abortion clinics meet hospital-style health standards, ranging from installation of hands-free sinks to upgrades to ventilation systems. Supporters call the rules crucial safety standards.
 
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposed them, saying that they are "unnecessary and unsupported by scientific evidence."
 
The new laws in Texas and elsewhere have alarmed abortion rights advocates, who see them as an attempt to thwart the right to abortion granted by the Supreme Court in 1973.
 
In Texas, Planned Parenthood announced on Thursday that it was closing one of its 13 abortion clinics that provide abortions, citing the new law. The nation's largest abortion provider said the rules could force all but a handful of the 42 abortion facilities in Texas to close down.
 
But similar warnings in other states have not come to pass.
 
Twenty-six states have laws that require abortion clinics to meet varying levels of hospital standards, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights. Pennsylvania, Virginia and Missouri passed strict health and safety rules similar to Texas, it said.
 
In those three states, however, most clinics were able to stay open after the laws passed, some by re-allocating dollars to comply with building upgrades, according to abortion providers and state health department officials interviewed by Reuters.
 
"It seems like an exaggeration from the other side that access is going to be cut off," said Mallory Quigley, spokeswoman for the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony list.
 
Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, which favors abortion rights but does research cited by both sides, said the new law will have an impact in Texas but maybe less than the worst fears.
 
"Clinics will close," she said. "But I can't say we are going to go down to six."
 
Of the 24 clinics in Pennsylvania prior to a tough new law in 2011, one closed voluntarily, according to the state health department. The state closed two others for serious violations including a freezer lined with frozen blood, and stained surgical instruments in dirty drawers, according to reports by state inspectors.
 
Two others were consolidated into a third clinic but maintained the same level of service to women as before, said  Dr. W. Allen Hogge, chair of the Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences Department at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
 
All of the remaining 19 clinics are in compliance, said Pennsylvania health department spokeswoman Aimee Tysarczyk.
 
"To be honest, we weren't counting numbers as far as how many were going to close," said Micaiah Bilger, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an anti-abortion group. "The purpose of the bill was to ensure basic health and safety standards for women that are going into these centers."
 
Comply or close?
To remain open, some Pennsylvania clinics invested thousands of dollars to upgrade their facilities. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, for instance, said it spent about $400,000 to renovate two clinics after the state began implementing tougher standards in June 2012.
 
They installed hands-free sinks, new flooring and upgrades to heating, ventilation and air conditioning, said spokeswoman Maggie Groff.
 
"They had to spend large sums of money to comply that otherwise would have been put into patient care," Susan Frietsche, senior staff attorney at the Women's Law Project.
 
Only one clinic has closed in Virginia since a new law was implemented there earlier this year, the state health department said. No clinics have closed in Missouri because of a tough law passed there in 2007, abortion provider Planned Parenthood of Kansas and mid-Missouri said.
 
The national campaign to push for tighter restrictions on clinics gained momentum after the May conviction of a Philadelphia doctor, Kermit Gosnell, of murdering three babies born alive during abortions by severing their spinal cords.
 
Prosecutors in the case described his clinic as a "house of horrors" where recovery chairs were bloodstained and equipment broken.
 
The Gosnell case, Quigley said, shows "the abortion industry is not capable of policing itself."
 
Abortion rights activists said Gosnell was an exception among mostly safe and legal abortion providers.
 
In addition to the tough standards for clinics, the Texas law bans most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, requires doctors performing abortions to have hospital admitting privileges, and limits the use of the RU-486 drug to end pregnancies.
 
It requires all abortion facilities to meet the standards of "ambulatory surgical centers" that perform outpatient surgery. First trimester abortions, which account for most such procedures, rarely require surgery.
 
"What is frustrating to us, as physicians, are rules coming out in Texas and other states that are catching on like crazy but are not medically based. They are to shut down abortion facilities," said Dr. Anne Davis, consulting medical director with Physicians for Reproductive Health, a national organization of doctors supporting the right to abortion.
 
Planned Parenthood said on Thursday it was preparing to sue the state of Texas over the new law, a tactic they employed in Missouri when the state in 2007 passed legislation requiring clinics to meet outpatient surgery standards for most abortions.
 
The two sides reached a settlement in 2010 under which Missouri waived some rules for clinics that only performed first trimester abortions, thus avoiding closings, said Peter Brownlie, chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Manuel from: Bolivia
July 19, 2013 5:15 PM

Errors or problems of parents can not be paid with the lives of unborn children.

It is not my life, it is the life of another human being that I must respect and protect.


Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More