Planned Parenthood of Texas is opening up a new ambulatory surgical center and abortion clinic in San Antonio, the first since the state's new HB 2 abortion restrictions were approved last year and upheld in the courts, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Mara Posada of Planned Parenthood told Newsradio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board that the new San Antonio clinic, which meets the guidelines set out by HB2, will provide services for women in a wide area of south Texas, where clinics have been forced to close.
"That clinic in Corpus has just closed down," Posada said. "So south of San Antonio there will really not be any place where a woman can get safe and legal abortion care."
The new law restricts abortions to 20 weeks gestation, requires that clinics be staffed by physicians who have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles the clinic, and requires that abortion clinics meet the same guidelines as ambulatory surgical centers.
Before the law passed in July of 2013, there were 44 operating abortion clinics in Texas. After the new San Antonio facility opens, there will be 8.
"Some clinics have closed in South Texas, and that has been very concerning for wide stretches of south and west Texas, where there is no longer any safe and legal abortion there," Posada said.
A problem abortion clinics have had in South Texas is the Rio Grande Valley's overwhelmingly Catholic population, which means most of the hospitals are affiliated with the Catholic Church. Since abortion is agaisnt Catholic teaching, Catholic hospitals are frequently unwilling to extend admitting privileges to abortion clinic doctors.
Planned Parenthood is also starting a Patient Assistance Fund, which will help Texans who live outside of major metropolitan areas to pay for funding for transportation and lodging costs, and contraception to help plan and space future pregnancies, and prevent unintended pregnancies.'