North Austin women's clinic to close due to abortion regulations

AUSTIN -- A women's clinic in North Austin closed its doors Thursday because it can not comply with the House Bill 2 standard of an ambulatory surgical center, Whole Woman's Health said.

House Bill 2 was passed in July 2013 and went into effect in November 2013. All abortion clinics in Texas must comply with House Bill 2's ambulatory surgical center requirement by Sept. 1, 2014.

The Austin Whole Woman's Health Clinic had 10 employees and two doctors. Its license officially expired at the end of last month.

The company's CEO told KVUE's partners at the Austin American-Statesman that renovations to create larger operating rooms, a sterile ventilation system and other changes could cost up to $2 million, and they didn't have the money to make the changes.

RELATED: Study: Abortions down 13 percent since new Texas law

For the past 10 years, Austin's Whole Woman's Health abortion clinic was the flagship clinic in Texas. Whole Woman's Health also has abortion clinics in Fort Worth and San Antonio.

On Monday, Whole Woman's Health will challenge the ambulatory surgical center restriction passed during the legislative session next week in front of a U.S. District Court judge in a case called Whole Woman's Health v. Lakey. The trial will take place in Austin.

The Whole Woman's Health San Antonio clinic meets the ambulatory surgical center requirement of HB2. The Fort Worth location may close depending on next week's ruling.

Whole Woman's Health released the following statement on Thursday:

"We wanted to let you know that as of today [Thursday], July 31, Whole Woman's Health will close its Austin clinic doors.The closure today [Thursday] of Whole Woman's Health of Austin is the result of politicians acting against women in our state when they passed HB2. They continue to be relentless in taking personal health decisions away from women by passing onerous and medically unnecessary restrictions."

The Texas Policy Evaluation Project found there has been a 13 percent decline in the abortion rate in Texas since the passing of House Bill 2. It also found that the number of facilities providing abortion services in Texas dropped from 41 in April 2013 to 22 by April 2014.


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