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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.