| Texan writer and feminist activist Jessica Luther tweeted this graphic of abortion access in Texas to illustrate the extreme obstacles faced by those living in the vast majority of the state. "REMINDER:Everything in orange is where it's hard to access abortion in TX right now," Luther tweeted, "And for those without a car, the orange area is MUCH larger, basically limited to urban centers."
Luther's graphic takes the stories of hardship and lack of access across the state in the wake of House Bill 2 and puts it into a visual we should all find shocking. Many clinics closed immediately following the passage of the law, and many more will close when it goes into full effect this September. At that point, the only clinics allowed to provide services will be those that meet Ambulatory Surgical Center standards.
More on restricted access to abortion for women across the state below the jump.
|As the graphic shows, large swaths of the state now exist without any access to abortion services. For low-income women seeking reproductive healthcare this can be devastating. If a person lacks access to a car they have to rely on inter-city public transportation or the kindness of friends and family to get to the closest clinic.
Before House Bill 2 passed, thirteen cities - including two in the Rio Grande Valley - had clinics that provided access to abortion services. Since then, Lubbock, Harlingen, McAllen, Waco, and Killeen have seen all clinics providing these services close. For some, the new closures mean that the closest facility is now outside of the state.
The impacts of the law are far-reaching. When the first physician suspended due to lack of admitting privileges as required under the law had to stop practicing, the clinic lost its only physician providing abortion procedures. All of the provisions of the law - the twenty-week ban with murky and unscientific definitions of when that twenty week mark is, the requirement for all physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the clinic, the outdated administration guidelines for medical abortions, and the requirements that all abortion facilities be licensed Ambulatory Surgical Centers - come together to create a nightmare of obstacles for providers and clients alike.
For example, if a woman living in one of the orange areas of the state from Luther's graphic should become aware of her pregnancy early on and have access to money and transportation, her options are more open. All of the operating clinics do provide medical abortions, according to Fund Texas Women. However, under the law, a person would have to visit the clinic four times to receive the least invasive and safest abortion services: a medical abortion. For those living hundreds of miles away from the nearest clinic, this can be close to impossible.
Luther's graphic is important, because it turns the idea of lack of access into a visual that is impossible to forget. This image illustrates the reality for those in Texas whose legislators think they know better when it comes to women's health.