Women's Clinic Founder: Texas Law Does Nothing To Prevent Need For Abortion

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There's more fallout today in Texas over the state's highly restrictive new laws on abortion. Last week, an appeals court overturned a lower court decision, and upheld an aspect of the state's new abortion law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have visiting privileges at a nearby hospital.

But doctors who perform abortions often can't get privileges, either because hospital boards are opposed to abortion, or would rather grant privileges to doctors who can fill beds.

Amy Hagstrom Miller is founder of Whole Woman's Health, which includes six clinics throughout the state. She is also a lead plaintiff with the Center for Reproductive Rights in the case challenging HB2, the new abortion law in Texas. She joins Here & Now's Robin Young.

Interview Highlights: Amy Hagstrom Miller

On the impact of the latest court decision

"The impact has actually been quite profound. Just this last Friday, in my own organization only, we had to reschedule more than 45 women's appointments. Quite a few women — at least a third of the women — that we serve in McAllen, which is on the Texas-Mexico border, have a visa that allows them to be in the border communities legally, but they can't travel further into Texas. And so those women were unable to go to San Antonio or to Austin. But really the profound part of it was just the emotions that the staff and the women that we serve — our patients — and our physicians had that day, just sitting down with women and saying, 'I'm so sorry, I'm not allowed by law to help you.'"

On what the law means for Texas women

"This law was basically a perfect storm, with the combination of the admitting privileges and the ambulatory surgical center requirements. You know, this law did nothing to actually prevent the need for abortion, or address the underlying challenge of unplanned pregnancy. So we're still going to have the same amount of women in the state of Texas who need safe abortion care."

On qualifying as an "ambulatory surgical center"

"An ambulatory surgical center is a pretty onerous physical plant requirement, primarily, that costs upwards of a million to $2 million to even retrofit a current facility, or upwards of $3 million to build from the ground up. So basically this is going to prevent another wave of us from remaining open. Right now there's only six ambulatory surgical centers in the entire state of Texas that provide abortion care, and there'll be very few people who between now and a year from now could raise the funds or start a building process where they would be able to build a new facility. So you're going to see another round of clinics closing a year from now."


This segment aired on November 4, 2013.


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