The Supreme Court Struck Down Texas' Restrictive Abortion Law, But Three Years Later, Half the State's Clinics Are Still Closed

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Protesters hold signs at a pro-Planned Parenthood rally in San Antonio. - MICHAEL BARAJAS
  • Michael Barajas
  • Protesters hold signs at a pro-Planned Parenthood rally in San Antonio.
Three years after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out parts of a controversial Texas law limiting abortion access, most of the clinics shut in its wake still haven't reopened, according to a report by Austin public radio station KUT.

There are now just 22 abortion clinics left in the state, compared to the 40 that were operating prior to the passage of Texas House Bill 2, according to KUT's investigation.



The law mandated that abortion clinics be upgraded to become ambulatory surgical centers and required doctors providing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Unable to afford the changes, many clinics in rural areas were forced to shut their doors.

“What we saw is that West Texas and South Texas access was incredibly limited,” Texas Policy Evaluation Project investigator Kari White told KUT. "Women living in those parts of the state were more than 100 miles — sometimes 200 or more miles — from the nearest facility.”



Although the Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that Texas had put an “undue burden” on women seeking legal medical procedures, few of the shuttered clinics have since reopened. Experts said it's been difficult for the facilities to hire doctors, obtain new licenses and re-equip.

The report comes as abortion providers brace for another Texas law designed to limit their ability to operate. Senate Bill 22, which goes into effect September 1, bars local governments from providing anything of value to organizations that provide abortions — even if the contributions are meant to facilitate services such as cancer screenings or HIV tests.

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