AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Women's Health Center is struggling to stay open after almost 50 years of service.
According to a report from KUT, the independently-owned reproductive health clinic began offering abortion care and gynecological services to women in 1976. But after the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the clinic could no longer offer abortions – and it has struggled financially ever since.
A GoFundMe organized by former clinic director Julie Smith calls the center's current situation a "crisis point."
“A lot of our patients that would seek abortion care were self-pay patients. They paid out of pocket for those services,” Smith told KUT. “Profits from that helped support our regular gynecological practice, and to provide comprehensive care to patients throughout their reproductive lives.”
Smith said over the past year, the center has drawn on reserves to provide care to patients who are uninsured or enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid. Recently, Smith said the center has had to make difficult decisions, including cutting her position.
However, she has continued to support the clinic. She launched the GoFundMe campaign with a goal of raising $75,000 to help cover overhead expenses and unexpected costs.
“We have patients that have been coming to us their whole lives, almost,” Smith told KUT. “We don’t feel like we can just abandon them.”
As of Wednesday morning, the GoFundMe has raised $24,493 of its goal.
To learn more, read KUT's full report.