Austin, TX — While the status of abortion facilities in Texas remains in flux, a new survey of Texas abortion businesses conducted by Operation Rescue on Monday, October 20, 2014, shows five abortion facilities still remain closed even though they were temporarily allowed to reopen under last week’s Supreme Court ruling.
Earlier this month, 14 abortion facilities that failed to comply with HB2’s requirement that abortion clinics meet Ambulatory Surgical Center standards shut down after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Texas to enforce abortion clinic safety standards pending the State’s appeal of a lower court ruling that decided the safety law was unconstitutional.
Nine of those reopened last week after the High Court’s ruled abortion facilities may remain open pending the appeal. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to expedite the case and could hear it as early as December. If the State is successful, the abortion facilities could once again be ordered to close.
Of the 14 abortion facilities that shut down earlier this month, the following have remained closed:
• International Health Solutions in Austin
• Hilltop Reproductive Health Services in El Paso
• Whole Women’s Health in Ft. Worth
• AAA Concerned Women’s Center in Houston
• Aalto Women’s Center in Houston
The two Houston abortion facilities have shut down permanently while the other three clinics appear to be attempting to reopen at some future time.
“Last week’s Supreme Court ruling is only a temporary one that is pending the outcome of the state’s appeal in the Fifth Circuit. We remain confident that the full Fifth Circuit will uphold HB2, then the abortion facilities that reopened will once again shut down,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “The courts various rulings has put us on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Certainly we are not happy that nine facilities that cannot meet minimum safety standards remain dangerously open, but we remain optimistic that a permanent victory is forthcoming.”
Fifteen abortion facilities that were shuttered last year due to a provision in the law that requires abortionists to maintain local hospital privileges remain permanently closed, resulting in a 13 percent reduction in the number of abortions in the past 16 months.
“Every time one of these sub-par abortion mills shuts down, lives are saved and women are spared from possible harm,” said Newman. “Women have a right to be protected from shoddy operations that endanger their health, so closing these facilities benefits women.”
Below is a timeline of events in Texas that have resulted in the permanent closure of half the state’s 42 abortion clinics.
July 13, 2013: Texas passes HB2, a sweeping abortion clinic standards law that includes requirements that abortionists must maintain local hospital privileges and that facilities must meet Ambulatory Surgical Facility standards. Gov. Rick Perry signed it into law on July 18, 2014.
March 28, 2013: In response to a suit filed by several Texas abortion facilities, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rules that HB2’s hospital privilege requirement is constitutional.
November 5, 2013: Operation Rescue confirms the closure of 16 abortion facilities as the result of enactment of HB2, specifically the local hospital privilege requirement for all abortionists
July 24, 2014: A new study was released that showed abortions in Texas decreased a dramatic 13% since HB2’s hospital privilege requirement went into effect.
August 29, 2014: Federal Court Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the building requirements of Texas’ abortion facility licensing law, known as HB2, were unconstitutional and also set aside the requirement that abortionists maintain local hospital privileges only for abortion businesses in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso areas. One abortion facility in McAllen reopens.
October 2, 2014: A three-member panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issues a ruling that the state of Texas may enforce the clinic standards law pending the state’s appeal. As a result, 14 abortion businesses shut down, leaving Texas with only nine remaining abortion facilities.
October 14, 2014: U.S. Supreme Court vacates the Fifth Circuit’s nullification of a lower court’s injunction that barred parts of HB2 from being enforced. The result was that nine abortion facilities that cannot meet minimum safety standards have been allowed to reopen.
*Article by Cheryl Sullenger