When the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ruling of a lower court to strike down the Texas admitting privileges portion of HB 2, pro choice activists said the impact would be immediate and profound for women in the state. In fact the court agreed stating admitting privileges would increase the cost of accessing an abortion provider and decrease the number of physicians available to perform abortions.
According to the New York Times the court:
cited a Supreme Court statement in an earlier abortion case that if a regulation serves a valid purpose, the fact that it has “the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate it.”
Less than a week after the ruling, the real life impact is already being felt by Texas women and their families. At least nine of the 13 clinics said not to have doctors with admitting privileges have shuttered their doors. Leaving women, mostly in rural Texas without providers and providers in other parts of the state overwhelmed from the overflow of patients.
Whole Woman’s Health, a group of Texas health-care facilities, had five locations in the state now they have two. The ruling has forced them to furlough or layoff half of their 52 employees, RH Reality Check reported. Patients are confused. Amy Hagstrom Miller CEO of Whole Woman’s Health said:
They’re sobbing. They get really angry, asking, ‘Who decided this?’
Hagstrom Miller said she is also trying to arrange transportation in the form of gas cards, bus tickets, and perhaps even chartered private buses to help patients travel to legal abortion facilities.
Women are starting to speak out too. Marni Evans and her fiancé, John Lockhart sat down and talked about the impact of having her procedure canceled in Austin on Friday. How delaying her procedure has been stressful for her and her partner. She explained how she had made flight plans to Seattle, but then was redirected to another clinic in Austin only to wait for several hours and be asked to come back another day.
Thankfully for her, it seems Ms. Evans has some resources. Going out of state seems to be an option. For many women in the state that is not the case, especially those in rural areas. Just getting the money for the procedure is a hurdle, asking them to go out of state, or even across state is impossible. Asking them to wait until later when the price goes up and the procedure becomes more complicated, is more than an undue burden-it’s an impossible hurdle.
Edited/Published by: SB