5th Circuit Ruling Ignores Closed Abortion Clinics in Rio Grande Valley
The 5th Circuit of Appeals has upheld unnecessary abortion restrictions that were passed last summer by the Texas legislature. The three judge panel determined the new rules and regulations were unlikely to create an undue burden on women who need access to abortion services.
To which I must say...
Maybe it's just me, but I always thought courts were supposed to use facts to rule on cases.
The real story is that clinics are being shut down and finding themselves forced to turn away women in need.
Rachel Maddow started a series on the effects of abortion restrictions in Texas. In the first installment, Maddow breaks down how restrictions have the most damaging impact on impoverished communities.
Low-income women, and women of color, have the most difficulty accessing adequate nutrition and health services. They are also less likely to have access to family planning services. Now that the Whole Women’s Health clinic has closed, it will be nearly impossible for women in the community to access the services vital to their well-being. The clinic stopped providing abortions in October 2013 (because clinic doctors were unable to obtain admitting privileges – a requirement of HB2) but continued providing other services until it closed this Thursday.
As HB2 continues to take effect, let’s re-cap where that leaves Texas and the women in need of medical care and education;
- From 44 abortion providing clinics in 2011, only 24 are currently open
- Those 24 are expected to fall to 6 by September 2014
- Women in McAllen, commonly cited as one of America’s poorest cities, will have to go to San Antonio (235 miles away) to legally obtain abortion services
- Many expect women to cross the border into Mexico and attempt to induce their own abortions. This means doctors can expect to see women coming in with hemorrhaging and partial abortions. And that will be for the women who can afford to travel across the border.
- Access to information on family planning will plummet in a state already known for its high number of teen pregnancies
- Women will be less likely to know how to protect themselves against STIs
So where does that leave the clinic workers and doctors who are finding their clinics being shuttered against their will? It leaves them fighting back against unnecessary regulations that have nothing to do with protecting women and everything to do with attacking their agency and shaming them into ignorance and silence.
The closure of these clinics - and the 5th Circuit Court ruling - can feel demoralizing. Yesterday's ruling is an important reminder that beyond the policies and partisan politics, HB2 is affecting real women in a tangible and negative way.