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Choice advocates protest closure of 2 rural reproductive health clinics in Texas

Two reproductive health clinic closures were announced in rural Texas this week — shutdowns resulting from passage of the state's House Bill 2. The clinics were the only reproductive health clinics in East Texas and the Rio Grande Valley and the closures disproportionately affect low-income women in the south and east of the state, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America.

“The closure of Whole Women’s Health clinic is a tragedy for women in Texas and indicative of the cost when we allow politicians to use deceitful back-door tactics to rob us of our fundamental rights,” Ilyse Hogue, NARAL Pro-Choice America president said in a statement released late March 6. “The majority of Americans support a woman’s right to choose the health care and reproductive options best for us, yet anti-choice lawmakers have run rough shod over that sentiment and now are endangering the lives of the state’s most vulnerable women."

Nineteen clinics in Texas have closed since Texas lawmakers adopted new abortion restrictions last summer. Twenty-four clinics remain to serve a population of 26 million people, and more closures could happen after additional restrictions take effect later this year, according to The AP.

Lawmakers in HB 2 required all abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, all abortions to take place in a surgical facility and all women seeking abortion-inducing medications to make four clinical visits. Those rules made it impossible for the clinics in Beaumont and McAllen to stay open, Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman's Health, told the AP.

Heather Busby, the director of NARAL's chapter in Texas, in a statement released on March 6, said, "Safe, legal options for women in need of abortion care are now non-existent in south and east Texas, and that is no accident. Anti-choice lawmakers knew exactly what they were doing when they pushed for the abortion restrictions in HB2 and these clinic closures are exactly the result they were seeking.”

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