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Two Reproductive Health Clinics Close Doors in the Wake of HB 2

by: Natalie San Luis

Thu Mar 13, 2014 at 02:30 PM CDT

Two Whole Woman's Health clinics in McAllen and Beaumont have closed their doors, leaving women in the rural areas with even fewer reproductive health care options.

The McAllen clinic has not provided abortion care since the admitting privileges requirement was implemented in November 2013.

Although the Beaumont clinic's OB-GYN obtained admitting privileges, the facility would not have been able to be reconstructed as an ambulatory surgical center by September, when that provision goes into effect.

According to RH Reality Check, women and trans men seeking legal abortion care in these two areas now face a 90 minute to four hour commute to the nearest abortion provider.

More on the devastating impact of HB 2 on Texans after the jump.

Amy Hasgstrom Miller, the CEO of Whole Woman's Health, operated five reproductive health clinics in Texas at this time last year. One of the clinics, in San Antonio, is an ambulatory surgical center.

The Beaumont and McAllen clinic closings will be followed by the Austin and Fort Worth Whole Woman's Health facilities, along with dozens of other reproductive health clinics, when the ASC provision goes into effect this September.

Currently, only six abortion providers are outfitted as ambulatory surgical centers. Retrograding or building an ASC can cost over a million dollars and require years of construction.

RH Reality Check confirms that Amy Hagstrom Miller is currently focusing on finding ASCs near Austin or Fort Worth that may lease their facilities to Whole Woman's. However, so far no facility has been both willing to and contractually able to accomodate the organization.

Marva Sadler, a regional director of Whole Woman's Health, expressed her frustration and anger on behalf of the Beaumont and McAllen communities.

"I know the day after we close our clinic, they'll call and that line is not going to have anyone on the other end to answer their questions," she said. "Where are they going to go? What are they going to do?"

Annie's List also released a statement on the closing of the clinics. Executive Director Grace Garcia said:

"We're now seeing the devastating impact of the decisions made by the legislature last summer. The choices Republicans made put women at risk. Women no longer have access to the important health services that they need - services that were already difficult to acquire for many women.

"Health centers like the clinics closing also provide essential women's health services, including preventive care such as screening for cancer and other health risks and birth control. Texas women deserve access to health care. Republicans' decisions are creating significant barriers in areas with the most need.

"Attorney General Greg Abbott was in the Rio Grande Valley yesterday, talking about reaching out to the Hispanic community. But Greg Abbott defended this dangerous law in court - this law that is sending women to Mexico for "abortion pills" that without the care of medical professionals pose significant health risks. While he was in Edinburg boasting about his connection to the Valley, Texas families were lamenting the end of access to important health services. His claim that he understands the Hispanic community, especially the community in the Rio Grande Valley, rings hollow."

Photo courtesy of RH Reality Check.

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