We’re so excited to announce that we’re staying open at Whole Woman’s Health of Fort Worth and Whole Woman’s Health of San Antonio after Judge Yeakel handed down his ruling on Friday invalidating the ASC requirements of House Bill 2 and the admitting privileges requirement as applied in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso/West Texas. We’re also announcing that Whole Woman’s Health of McAllen, after being shutdown in March, has reopened its doors to serve women in the Rio Grande Valley that have not had access to abortion care since House Bill 2 went into effect in November 2013.
Our model of care has not changed — we will still provide the safest, most affordable, and most holistic abortion care in all of our communities, all as we continue to fight back against House Bill 2.
Should you or someone you know need to make an appointment, have questions, or just need someone to talk to about options, feel free to call us at (877) 835-1090 or visit our website. Our doors, hearts, and minds are open to the women of Texas.
This morning, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas released a video with Progress Texas that contains audio clips of anti-choice groups at an activist training in Austin (“Keeping Abortion Facilities Closed”) admitting to using stalking techniques at abortion clinics to intimidate staff and patients alike. One official from Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas, Karen Garnett, detailed the way in which they collect license plate numbers to keep track of who is coming in and out of the clinic.
“You track license plates coming into any abortion facility. We have a very sophisticated spreadsheet,” Garnett says. “This way you can track whether or not a client comes back.”
Former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned anti-choice activist Abby Johnson discussed how her group rooted through appraisal district records in the Austin area, discovering the location of an ASC where an Austin physician plans on moving his abortion care practice.
Johnson, who left her position as a clinic director in 2009 and became a poster child for the anti-choice movement, thinks that her and her colleagues’ shameful tactics have been effective in scaring abortion providers.
“We know where he will be moving if he loses the case,” says Johnson. “These abortionists are feeling the pressure from the pro-life movement in Texas. I think they feel like they’re on the run. And that’s how we want to keep it.”
As clinics shut their doors throughout Texas, anti-choice activists are honing in on the last remaining places that women are able to go for safe, legal abortion care. Not only do women have to conquer an uphill battle when trying to access care in their state, they now have to face harassment, stalking, and intimidation from so-called sidewalk counselors that want to force them into unwanted pregnancy.
Unfortunately, these tactics are not new. Anti-choice activists have a long history of violence and harassment directed at abortion providers. In a collection of data featured on the National Abortion Federation’s (NAF) clinic violence page, abortion providers have routinely faced incidents like murder, fire-bombing, extreme vandalism, bomb threats, and much more. You can view all reported clinics threats here, though NAF notes that the number of incidents is likely higher.
These tactics employed by the anti-choice movement are used as a means of forcing women to be unable to make decisions about their own bodies, families, and lives. The groups involved in “Keeping Abortion Facilities Closed” may consider their tactics to be non-violent, but they are actively creating an environment in which harassment and intimidation are not only encouraged but are the norm, and it can validate actions that lead to potentially lethal consequences.
With extremely heavy hearts, we’re announcing today that Whole Woman’s Health of Austin is closing its doors days before our trial against House Bill 2 begins.
Austin was our flagship clinic, serving the community of Central Texas with the best abortion care available to women for over ten years. House Bill 2, which passed last summer, has forced us into yet another closure, this time because we’re unable to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical center at this location.
Fortunately we’re still caring for women at Whole Woman’s Health of Fort Worth and, continuing after September 1st, at Whole Woman’s Health of San Antonio.
Here is our official statement to the public:
“We wanted to let you know that as of today, July 31, Whole Woman’s Health will close its Austin clinic doors.
“The closure today of Whole Woman’s Health of Austin is the result of politicians acting against women in our state when they passed HB2. They continue to be relentless in taking personal health decisions away from women by passing onerous and medically unnecessary restrictions,” commented Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO, Whole Woman’s Health.
This announcement comes just days before the August 4 trial date, when Whole Woman’s Health and other independent providers will challenge the onerous requirements of House Bill 2 (HB2) set to go into effect September 1, 2014 in the legal challenge Whole Woman’s Health vs. Lakey. The outcome of the trial will ultimately decide the fate of Whole Woman’s Health clinics around the state, with the exception of Whole Woman’s Surgical Center in San Antonio, which meets the requirements of HB2 and will remain open into the future.
“While Austin has stopped providing abortion care, our Fort Worth clinic remains open and we hold out hope that this trial will allow us to remain open and continue serving that community and possibly even reopen some of the WWH clinics that HB 2 forced us to close,” said Hagstrom Miller.”
You haven’t seen the last of us yet. We have a lot of things up our sleeve and the lawsuit next week is just the beginning.”
Join us on Monday as we continue to fight back against these painfully unnecessary, onerous, and destructive provisions that House Bill 2 has imposed on women and their healthcare providers in Texas.
The trial in our second challenge to Texas’ unconstitutional abortion restrictions will begin at 9AM CT (10AM EST) on Monday, August 4, 2014 in United States District Court in Austin. We expect the trial to conclude on Thursday, August 7, 2014.
Whole Woman’s Health v Lakey is the second challenge to Texas’ House Bill 2 (HB2), sweeping anti-choice legislation that was passed last summer and has already shuttered clinics across the state and left women with extremely limited health care options. This lawsuit seeks to block the admitting privileges requirement specifically as it applies to Whole Woman’s Health in McAllen and Reproductive Services in El Paso—two clinics that are among the last, if not the only, reproductive health care providers offering safe, legal abortion care in their communities. The second suit also seeks to strike HB2’s provision that every reproductive health care facility offering abortion services meet the same building requirements as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), a provision scheduled to take effect in September 2014 that would leave fewer than 10 clinics in Texas and force many women to endure a roundtrip of more than a thousand miles or cross state lines to access safe and legal abortion services.
The trial will happen before Judge Lee Yeakel at the United States District Court in Austin at 501 West Fifth Street as it did with our first trial last October. Judge Yeakel will decide that morning whether electronic devices are allowed inside of the courtroom, though it’s likely they’ll only be allowed for taking notes and not for Internet access.
Watch our Twitter feed for live updates on the trial as we get them, as well as our Facebook page and this blog for more as we fight back against this law with help from the Center for Reproductive Rights and others. #FightBackTX
In a new report that is the first study done on the effects of House Bill 2 since it passed last year, the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) has found that 46% of abortion facilities have closed statewide since June 2013. The study also found that the rate of abortion procedures in the state has also dropped by 13%, a significant decrease that is much steeper than any recent declines in abortion rates anywhere else in the nation. TxPEP surmises that this sharp decline is due to the decimation of abortion access in Texas overall:
The 13% decline in the state abortion rate over the past year, which corresponds to 9,200 fewer abortions annually, is steeper than recent declines in both Texas and the nation. The authors hypothesize that part of this reduction is due to the closure of clinics throughout the state, generally because of doctors’ inability to obtain hospital admitting privileges. Between April 2013 and April 2014, 46% of facilities providing abortion closed, leaving large areas of the state without a clinic. All of the clinics south of San Antonio have closed, and all but one have closed in West Texas.
Another part of TxPEP’s findings was an increase in the amount of Texas women who live 100 miles or more from the nearest abortion clinic. The number has gone from 217,000 women in May of 2013 to an astounding 1,020, 000 in April of 2014. The most shocking finding out of this information is that, after all clinics have to meet the requirements of an ambulatory surgical center on September 1st and all but 6 clinics in the entire state will shut down, the number of women living 100 miles or more away from an abortion clinic in Texas will rise to 1, 335, 000.
Overall, the new report from TxPEP shows that access to abortion has decreased just as we predicted would happen when the study began last year. With the influx of women traveling long distances to the remaining open clinics and overloading the existing infrastructure that providers have, wait times, cost, and lack of enough funding force women into unwanted pregnancies. Many are faced with barriers to access already with the destruction of family planning budgets across the state, and as the number of clinics in Texas dwindle down to single digits, it’s no wonder that the rate of abortion procedures is following suit.
As the damage that House Bill 2 has inflicted on women in Texas becomes more and more apparent, Whole Woman’s Health will be here to advocate and care for these women in the facilities that remain open. You can donate to the Whole Woman’s Texas Action Fund or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates from us on how we’re helping women access safe, affordable abortion care.
As we get closer and closer to September 1st and the inevitable shuttering of all but six clinics in the entire state of Texas, we’re preparing to have women come to our clinic in San Antonio for many different services. We know that abortion is just one part of a full spectrum of healthcare that women need.
Starting this month, we’ll be offering annual pelvic exams, STI/STD testing, pap smears (and treatment for abnormal pap smears), contraception counseling, UTI and yeast infection treatment, IUD consultation and insertion, and other gynecological services. We offer a non-judgmental atmosphere and have open and honest conversations with our patients whether they’re a teenager, someone who is LGBTQ, or just nervous to talk about their personal health.
Whole Woman’s Health of San Antonio is contracted with most major insurance carriers including United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Humana. We are also proud to offer extremely affordable prices for uninsured patients. We employ some of the most licensed, trained, and professional staff available to providers to bring you the best service. Call us to find out more about our pricing, discounts and availability.
Recently the Supreme Court heard Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, a case concerning a key provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that required employers’ health insurance plans to offer contraceptive coverage for their employees. Hobby Lobby, who officially won the case yesterday, sued to be exempted from the provision due to the “deeply held religious beliefs” of their company that being required to offer birth control coverage to their employees is equivalent to abortion. It is important to note that Hobby Lobby’s 401K program invests in pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers that produce various forms of birth control – from the pill to emergency contraception to the IUD – as well as drugs used during procedures in abortion care.
The case deeply divided the court with the concurring side being all five male justices while the dissenting side was all four female justices. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in particular wrote a sharp dissenting opinion, saying that the court, she fears, “has ventured into a minefield.”
You can still obtain safe and accessible reproductive healthcare, including birth control, from any one of our locations across the nation in Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Baltimore, or Minneapolis. Find our clinic locations here or call us for directions and pricing on what we offer. We welcome all into our doors with no judgement or shame for what you’re coming to us for.