September 18, 2013 — The closures of women's health providers in Texas as the result of various state laws and funding cuts are making it more difficult for women to find sources of routine health care, the Texas Tribune reports.
Jose Camacho -- executive director of the Texas Association of Community Health Centers -- said the number of claims filed in a state program that provides preventive care for low-income women has fallen by 23% since the state Legislature cut the program's funding in 2011. "There weren't any less women [who] needed the service," he said, adding, "There were just less women [who] got served."
Clinics also are closing because of a newer law (HB 2) that restricts abortion services and providers (Philpott, Texas Tribune, 9/16). That law requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, bans abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy unless a woman's life is in danger, requires abortions to be performed at an ambulatory surgical center and mandates that physicians administer medication abortion in person (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/6).
Antiabortion-rights groups have argued that there still are enough doctors and clinics to meet women's needs. For example, the group Pro-Life Aggies ran an ad in the Texas A&M University newspaper that listed alternatives to the closed Planned Parenthood clinic, but most of the options were not accepting new clients and some did not offer reproductive health services, according to Bryan, Texas, resident Cadence King.
King said the closures have forced her to make a three-hour drive to a clinic in Beaumont or wait on a four-month long waiting list for an appointment at a clinic in Bryan. She added that women who need abortions should be able to find a provider, but they will "have to drive" to get there. "But overall, the majority of women [who] are going to hurt are the ones [who] need just the routine health care," she said (Texas Tribune, 9/16).