Fear of prosecution, three in four abortion centers in San Antonio stop offering a procedure

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(TEXAS TRIBUNE) – Three of the four abortion centers in San Antonio have temporarily stopped offering the procedure in hopes of avoiding lawsuits from private citizens under Texas’ restrictive new abortion law.

Two abortion clinics and a surgical center, operated by Planned Parenthood of South Texas, suspended all abortions from September 1, when one of the toughest abortion laws in the country entered into force. The law prohibits abortions whenever fetal heart activity is detected – from six weeks pregnant, when many do not know they are pregnant.

In the meantime, clinics will continue to make other reproductive health services available to over 1.5 million people living in the city. The Alamo City Surgery Center in San Antonio still performs abortions, according to its website.

Planned Parenthood of South Texas has decided to suspend abortions before the new law is implemented, hoping a court will block the provision that allows individuals to sue suppliers and others whom they suspect of providing someone with an illegal abortion, said Jeffrey Hons, CEO and president of the organization.

These hopes were dashed when the United States Supreme Court declined an emergency call from Texas abortion providers to block parts of the new law, Hons said.

“Hopefully the threat of civil suits is somehow neutralized by the courts, and then we can get on with providing all the legally permitted care,” Hons said.

He noted that if clinics had to continually fight lawsuits and prove that the abortions they performed were legal, it would have taken time and money for other patients.

“We have responsibilities to all of these people, and that weighed all of that,” he said.

In 2020, the organization’s clinics saw 24,900 individual patients, Hons said, and the majority did not have an abortion. Instead, they received treatments that included birth control, primary care, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and transgender hormone therapy.

Before the new law came into effect, the number of abortion clinics in Texas had already declined, from 41 in 2008 to 15 in 2020.

These closures further prevent access to legal abortions in Texas, adding to the more than 85% of abortions that became illegal when the state implemented the new law, according to advocates and experts.

Some Texans already have flooded out-of-state abortion clinics, seek care where the laws are less restrictive. But many cannot afford to leave the state, forcing them to carry their pregnancies to term or look for other methods, which could be harmful.

“Right now people seeking abortions across Texas are panicking – they don’t know where or when they can have an abortion, if ever,” said Nancy Northup, CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, after the Supreme Court. rejected the emergency call.

But anti-abortion organizations saw the closures as a victory because abortion “should be unthinkable and unnecessary,” said Chelsey Youman, Texas state director of Human Coalition, a national anti-abortion group.

“Our organizations will continue to advocate for a society where women and their children thrive without abortion,” Youman said.

The law, adopted as Senate Bill 8, came into effect last Wednesday, bypassing abortion protections offered by the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Roe v. Wade relying on private citizens to enforce the law.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott, who signed the bill in May, was asked why the ban still applies to victims of incest and rape. Abbott said these victims had six weeks pregnant to have an abortion and that the state would “work tirelessly” to “eliminate all rapists.”

Many people don’t know they’re pregnant until after six weeks because gestational age begins at the end of a previous menstrual period. Because an exactly regular period occurs every four weeks, a person has a maximum of two weeks to have an abortion, from Le 19 *.

In addition, eight out of ten sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, according to statistics from the National network of rape, abuse and incest. And in 2017, a total of 18,112 sexual assaults were reported in Texas, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Disclosure: Planned Parenthood has financially supported The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, non-partisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial support plays no role in the journalism of the Tribune. Find a suit list of them here.

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