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Saturday, June 25, 2022


Local clinic meets abortion bill’s standards

On Friday, the Texas Legislature passed a controversial bill that puts stricter regulations on abortion clinics and could force most abortion clinics in the state to shut down.

House Bill 2 prohibits abortions at or after 20 weeks, unless the life of the mother is in danger, and requires that abortion facilities meet the minimum standards for ambulatory surgical centers.

HB 2 also requires doctors to have the ability to admit a patient at a hospital no farther than 30 miles from the abortion clinic and allows only doctors to administer abortion-inducing drugs.

Out of 42 clinics in Texas, the Planned Parenthood clinic near UH, known as Prevention Park, is one of the six that are currently compliant under the law and will continue performing abortions. The rest of the clinics have until September 2014 to upgrade their operations to meet the new standards.

Supporters of the bill, such as electrical engineering sophomore Dominic Mak, claim that the measures will make abortion procedures safer for women and protect the lives of the unborn.

“This bill is geared towards enforcing common medical standards on surgical institutions for the sake of the women having the procedures, which I believe should be a concern of everyone regardless of their stance on abortion itself,” Mak said.

However, abortion providers like Planned Parenthood claim that the bill is designed to make abortions inaccessible to women by imposing impossible-to-meet regulations that will force dozens of providers to shut down.

“The passage of this bill effectively ends access to a safe and legal medical procedure in this state, which is harmful for women’s health,” said Alejandra Diaz, a spokeswoman at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.

Kinesiology junior Kiernan Cobb opposes the bill and says that surgical center standards are not necessary.

“Abortion clinics are already set up to provide abortions,” Cobb said. “They don’t provide open heart surgery or invasive body cavity surgeries.”

Clinics that do not have the funds to meet the new regulations or have a hospital within 30 miles will be forced to shut down.

“The clinics that are going to be left are only located in major cities,” Cobb said. “That limits the entirety of west Texas and most of north Texas from having access to safe, legal abortion procedures, leading them to resort to different abortion methods that are completely unsafe.”

Supporters of HB 2 argue that clinics should be held to high standards regardless of where they are and should have a hospital nearby in case of complications that could arise.

“No medical facility should be allowed to operate below medical standards on the basis of convenience for nearby patients,” Mak said. “If a particular facility is critical to a population, all the more reason to ensure that it is up to standards.”

Mak said he doesn’t believe the argument that women will resort to dangerous methods of terminating their pregnancies, such as using a coat hanger, if they don’t have access to a clinic.

“Without the possibility of clinical abortion, there are many support groups and non-violent alternatives, like adoption, for women who are struggling with their pregnancy,” Mak said.

Gov. Rick Perry is expected to sign the bill this week, but the bill could quickly wind up in court. The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit after Alabama passed similar legislation in June.

“Our primary concern is for the women of Texas,” Diaz said. “Here at Prevention Park, we will continue to do everything we can to help protect Texas women’s access to quality health services.”

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