Shutdown of abortion clinics impedes women’s rights
On Oct. 2, a ruling was passed down in Texas that would jeopardize the business of all but seven abortion clinics.
According to the Houston Chronicle, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled to allow harsh abortion regulations in Texas to stand. Abortion clinics will have to be up to the standard of “hospital-style surgical centers” or risk being shut down. Only seven of the clinics in the state are currently up to regulation standards.
The New York Times reported that 13 abortion clinics were forced to close immediately following the passing of the regulation. This regulation is not only going to pose a risk to any abortion clinic in the state of Texas, but it is also infringing on women’s rights.
According to the New York Times, Texas has the second highest amount of reproductive age women — 5.4 million — and only seven or eight available abortion clinics that are spread throughout Houston, Austin and other metropolitan regions.
“The ruling has gutted Texas women’s constitutional rights and access to critical reproductive health care, and stands to make safe, legal abortion essentially disappear overnight,” said President and Chief Executive of the Center for Reproductive Rights Nancy Northup in a statement to the New York Times.
On the other hand, Lauren Bean — spokeswoman for Texas attorney general Greg Abbott — agreed with the ruling.
“This decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women,” Bean said.
The three-judge panel consisted of Jennifer Walker Elrod and Jerry E. Smith, who were both appointed by Republican presidents, and Stephen A. Higginson, who was appointed by President Obama. The panel has agreed that this regulation would result in difficulty for women seeking abortions.
Expert Dr. Daniel Grossman said that one out of every six women seeking an abortion would have to travel almost 150 miles to reach the nearest clinic. Business management junior Justin Novosad said he leans more towards the side of pro-life, but does not agree with shutting down clinics.
“I personally am pro-life, except if the pregnancy harms the woman’s life,” Novosad said.
“I think that life begins at conception, so everyone should have a fair chance at it. I don’t think the state should be allowed to shut down the clinics, though. Some women still have abortions, so I don’t think they should be limited as to where they go for them.”
It is important to note that this decision is only temporary and the clinics could reopen. Numerous abortion clinics, along with their lawyers, have begun to consider all of their options, including appealing to entire 5th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Despite much contention, anti-abortion groups and various other Texas Republicans have been open in their praise of the regulation. Joe Pojman, executive director of the anti-abortion group Texas Alliance for Life, has commended Abbott’s legal team for “their effective defense of Texas law from challenges from the abortion industry.”
The topic of abortion has been highly discussed in the state, and this decision has only brought back the debate. The biggest question in the Texas abortion debate is pro-life versus pro-choice.
“I am pro-choice. I think it ultimately comes down to the decision of the woman herself and what she wants,” said business management sophomore Reena Patel. “Plus, regarding certain situations, it’s best if the woman aborts her child, such as cases involving rape or religion. I don’t think they should be allowed to just shut down those clinics without more consent from Texans themselves.”
Limiting the number of available abortion clinics is taking away a woman’s right over her own body.
Parenthood is a huge step in life, which involves absolute dedication from all parties involved. A woman who has become pregnant without her own consent should have the ability to terminate the pregnancy as per her wishes.
The closure of these clinics and the location of the handful open clinics will limit a woman’s choice for an abortion if she chooses to have one. The decision of abortion should be up to the woman in question, and nobody else.
Opinion columnist Trishna Buch is a print journalism senior and may be reached at [email protected]