KUT has a very important report today from Bryan-College Station, where the local Planned Parenthood clinic closed in August due to Texas' extreme new anti-abortion law. KUT spoke to two women who can no longer find local health care because of the closure. A full 97 percent of Planned Parenthood's services are non-abortion services millions of women across the country depend on for their health.
Bryan resident Cadence King had been going to Bryan's Planned Parenthood since 1998, where doctors treated pre-cancerous cells in her cervix. She had “regular checkups over the years to monitor her condition and make sure it wasn't progressing”. Since the clinic closed on August 1, King has had to miss two scheduled appointments and still can't find a new provider.
“I'm probably up against that window right now. There are some decisions that I need to make. And sticking your head in the sand is only good for so long,” King said.
A college group called Pro-Life Aggies ran a full-page ad in the local newspaper listing alternatives for women who depended on the Planned Parenthood clinic. This “pro-life” group listed doctors that weren't taking new patients, didn't deal with women's health, or were only for foot and eye care.
“There's a long list of providers here in town,” King said. “They consist of podiatrists and optometrists. And my eyes and my feet are fine.”
Below the jump, read about a Texas A&M student who must travel three hours home to receive health care services.Athena Mason, a freshman at Texas A&M in College Station, went to the university clinic for her first check-up as a college student.
“I had a hickey and the doctor was just like, you shouldn't be doing that,” said Mason, “and I'm like, it's a hickey, it's nothing major. But I got a big lecture, my boyfriend was abusive and all of these things. And then I asked for birth control – I did not hear the end of that. So I said never mind, I'll go someplace else.”
But Mason had nowhere else to go. With Bryan's Planned Parenthood closed, there was no proper health care available to her where she lived. She now must drive three hours back home to Fort Worth to receive health care. “She knows she's lucky to have that option,” KUT's Ben Philpott remarked.
“Yeah a lot of my friends have come up to me and they're like, 'Oh my gosh I had an appointment next week but it's closed now and I didn't even know,'” Mason told KUT.
This is exactly what Wendy Davis warned about in July during her 13-hour filibuster. Six of Texas' 37 licensed abortion clinics have already or are preparing to close. These closures are throwing thousands of Texas women onto the street to find health care because of Republicans' extreme anti-choice agenda. Digest that for a moment, if you haven't yet.
“There weren't any less women that needed the service. There were just less women that got served,” Jose Camacho, executive director of the Texas Association of Community Health Centers, told KUT.
Texas' abortion-providing clinics are extremely safe, and among the safest clinics of any kind in the state. The new law requires each to pay millions of dollars to qualify as an “ambulatory surgical center” with only one real cause behind it: shut them down, women's lives be damned. One by one, this is exactly what the law is doing.
After Midland's clinic closed in late August, an anti-choice organization called Texas Alliance for Life rallied outside.
TAL Executive Director told the crowd: “I feel so great about the pro-life movement in Texas. We get it…The goal is to protect women's health. What we're doing is saving lives.”
That is exactly the opposite of what they're doing.
Listen to KUT's report: