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It’s September 1st, So Are There Any Abortion Clinics Left?

It’s September 1st, So Are There Any Abortion Clinics Left?

Today is September 1st, Labor Day, and, ironically, the date that unless the court acts in Louisiana and Texas, a massive swatch of the south will no longer have moderately easy access to safe abortion care. September 1 is the date that TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider) laws in both states will go into effect, shutting down all but a few clinics that will be allowed to operate after having both received admitting privileges to local hospitals and, in the case of Texas, having clinics built in the standards of an ambulatory surgical center.

In Texas, that could mean just one clinic for every 1 million people who are capable of bearing children.

“Eight: the number of legal abortion providers that, barring a federal court’s intervention, will remain in Texas as of Monday, September 1, when the final provision of Texas’ omnibus anti-abortion law, HB 2, goes into effect,” reports Andrea Grimes at RH RealityCheck. “That’s one legal abortion provider for every one million Texans who could become pregnant, according to an estimate from the University of Texas’ Texas Policy Evaluation Project.”

Louisiana will have close to the same number as well in their state, with just two clinics left to serve roughly 2 million women and teen girls in their own state, too.

As problematic as the number of people per clinic is the actual effect that clinic closures would have on the landscape of accessing care. With the remaining Texas clinics being located primarily on the east end of the state, as well as to the north and central areas of the state, and Louisiana’s likely remaining clinics being in the Shreveport area near to the Texas boarder, the number of pregnant people who may want to end a pregnancy but can’t access an abortion due to travel issues is likely to skyrocket. Residents of Baton Rouge and New Orleans will no longer have any clinics in their cities, forcing them not just to leave the state and head to the sole clinic in Mississippi but, potentially, two states away to Mobile, Alabama. Once in Alabama, they would face a 48 hour waiting period before they could even have the procedure.

Taken apart, the two requirements and the effect they will have on clinics should present a significant burden on the constitutional right to access an abortion, which is the same argument the courts used to strike down similar laws in Alabama and Mississippi.  But with both Texas and its neighbor Louisiana putting their laws into effect on the same date, it’s impossible to miss the layer upon layer of difficulty it will make pregnant women wanting to terminate their pregnancies face.

The question is, do other courts agree? One Texas judge could block the final phase of HB 2 and keep the remaining dozen clinics open today. Even if he does, however, it may not last long. After all, the last time he blocked parts of HB 2, the Supreme Court allowed it to be implemented anyway and then the 5th circuit court ruled it constitutional, shutting down the first 20 clinics in the state.

Louisiana’s bill could be blocked as well, with the Center for Reproductive Rights and local health care providers filing a court challenge there, too. The providers have argued that they have not had enough time to get privileges, making it impossible for their clinics to stay open. That issue could provide the courts a way to keep the clinics open for now without having to weigh in on the actual merits of the law itself. In an attempt to appease everyone, the law may just stay unenforced until all doctors are officially turned down by their hospitals, which is looking more and more likely.

Regardless of what the courts decided to do or not do, to close clinics or leave them open, there is a crisis in the southern states, and it has already reached the tipping point. Clinics that remain open are seeing floods of patients, waiting periods are forcing those patients to take longer to access care, and mounting travel costs are making abortion impossible to obtain.

What that means, of course, is a return to self-abortion, something we only hear about when it goes wrong, either because a pregnancy continued or a pregnant person was hurt. “Self-induced abortion is kind of invisible,” Rachel Jones, a senior fellow at the Guttmacher Institute, told reporter Amelia Thomson-Deveaux. “It’s by definition unobservable. If a woman is successful, we don’t know about it, so we can’t count it.”

Today, on September 1st, regardless of how many clinics are still open, abortion won’t be going anywhere. It will still be happening. We just may not be hearing about it. That is, if we — and the pregnant people attempting it –  are lucky.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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71 comments

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9:45PM PDT on Sep 3, 2014

Someone posted on here that an abortion clinic is like a Nazi gas chamber. It sounds like he has been associating with one or more of the murderers of abortion doctors. Perhaps Scott Roeder who murdered Dr. Tiller as Tiller was attending church. Or maybe he hangs out with people like the arsonists who set fire to Dr. Leroy Carhart's home, barn, two other buildings, and several vehicles. This killed 21 horses and 2 other pets. I suppose there are and endless number of murderers, bombers, and arsonists he could socialize with. Such a peaceful loving holy group of American terrorists.

8:10PM PDT on Sep 3, 2014

1920: Women 'finally' got the right to vote. 2014: Use it or 'lose' it.... and use it wisely. The right-wing fanatics relentless religious oppression of women is going full steam ahead. Keep that in mind, come November. Women are not fetus factories, nor should they be forced to breed like cattle. Perhaps, the repugnant war-mongers intend women to breed more troops, for their ongoing wars. No contraception... no problem. Gung-ho!
.

1:22PM PDT on Sep 3, 2014

To the 2 Trolls Steve and Ross, one last comment.....While you have every right to your opinions, you do not have the right to force them on others!!!! However, my suspicion is that you are far too immature and badly educated to actually have an opinion of your own, and that playing silly asses online is just a game you play with your milk and cookies before mummy puts you to bed! Just have a good night's sleep, and let the big boys and girls get on with discussing grown up stuff in peace. Nitey nitey little boys :)

1:10PM PDT on Sep 3, 2014

To everyone who has posted commented on this topic ( EVERYONE EXCEPT OUR TWO 'RESIDENT TROLLS' ) it is obvious to me that the majority of you, like me, are women, with a small, but much appreciated, number of itelligent and thoughtful guys! So I ask myself why this outrage is happening in your country? Britain is no less mysogenist and male dominated, but somehow when the odd idiot or bigot tries to raise this subject, they are always ignored. Granted, we don't have a rabid Bible Belt, nor do we have a system where the law is fragmented into individual 'states' that each have autonomy to enact their own version of the Constitution. However we do have fanatical anti-choice groups, most of whom seem to be anti-smoking, anti-gay, anti-Muslim, anti- immigration anti-everything, but while they certainly have the right to speak freely and protest about their feelings, they do not EVER get to make the Laws. So again I ask myself why this America, this supposed 'land of the free', cannot safeguard the freedoms of the majority of it's population (51.326% are the latest figures I could find on the internet)... WOMEN!!!!

12:19PM PDT on Sep 3, 2014

Marianne C.
“@ Carole L:

"excuse me, do you have a vagina?"

No, he does not. All he has is a bad case of vagina envy. *snort*”

he probably thinks it's the capital of Saskatchewan.

12:09PM PDT on Sep 3, 2014

Debbi W: Sounds like your 'wise priest' was a Jesuit! The 10 Cs and their own consciences are all that Catholics actually have to worry about, according to Canon Law, but most of us don't know it.

Regus S: I very much doubt that Steven K believes that, actually. He's probably another victim of conservatism's shrinking, dying base problem. The GOP, having become an all white, mostly male party, cannot afford to alienate ANY segment of that population. The result is that men who just don't want to pay taxes and want to be free to do whatever they want on their own property (but don't want you to have the same freedom on your property if you live next door - these people are not 'thinkers') find themselves having to defend all kinds of crazy crap with which they don't agree.

10:52AM PDT on Sep 3, 2014

Because of a bunch of un-evolved busybodies who don't believe that a woman has the right to self-determination, both women and babies the busybodies are so concerned about face potential illness, injury, or loss of life. No wonder American companies treat women so poorly, they are just following the examples of various state governments. Using the non-choice line of thinking (I dare not even think the word "logic"), if anyone dies because they felt forced to DIY abortion, the blood is on the hands of the busybodies.

8:27AM PDT on Sep 3, 2014

Steven K. says:
** "I hear your lament regarding closing abortion clinics. If you'd been around in 1945, you'd probably also be lamenting the shutdown of the gas chambers."**

So it sounds like, if you'd been around in 1945, you'd have been running those gas chambers....you half-twitted political progeny of the rightwing Nazis.

Good try at false equivalency and DEFLECTION. Why is it that you rightwing "morans" are consistently too cowardly to discuss the topic of abortion rights based on substance? All you malignants ever show is your knee-jerk reactions, peppered with your rote parroting of the rightwing fairytales than have been hammered into your empty skulls like nails by your rightwing masters. It just does not get any more friggin' stupid than that.

Cletus

5:49AM PDT on Sep 3, 2014

Thank you.

10:07PM PDT on Sep 2, 2014

I believe most of the women who need to voice their opinions for pro-abortion are too intimidated to do so. If not by the men in their lives by religious zealots, and yes, the Catholic church. A wise priest once told me that you only should confess actions against the Ten Commandments and what 'you' believe you did wrong. Since a fetus cannot live outside of the womb before 6 mos., I don't see abortion as murder and doubt that abortion was even a consideration when the Ten C's were written. As someone else stated on Care2, the pro-lifers care more about the unborn than the living. Once the 'baby' is born they couldn't care less about the baby or mother. So much for so called Christian charity of the religious zealots.

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