State lawmakers are trying to approve a new abortion bill that could close 90 percent of abortion clinics in Texas. Five abortion clinics could be left remaining, if Texas lawmakers can pass a new abortion bill proposed during the current special session.
The Senate passed a bill that would allow abortions to be conducted only in ambulatory surgical facilities and place greater restrictions on abortion inducing medications. The Senate, however, abandoned any effort to include a ban on abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy.
Local clinics say it just more regulations added to a process that is already highly regulated.
"Well this bill will virtually end access to a safe and legal medical procedure which is harmful to women's health," Natalie Kelinske, media representative for Planned Parenthood Greater Texas, said. "Any abortion preformed in a health center has to follow very rigorous guidelines and so safe and legal abortion complies with all laws and regulations."
If the bill passes, 37 of 42 abortion clinics in the state may be forced to close. That would mean the closets clinic for Central Texas women would be in either Dallas or Austin, which could result in a costly expense.
Some critics say the decision to close clinics around the state would all but ban abortion in the state.
"Abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision that must be left up to a woman, her family, and her faith. With counsel from her doctor or medical provider," Kelinske said. "Politicians should not interfere with a woman's personal medical decisions about her pregnancy."
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst tweeted a picture on Wednesday of the possible clinics that may close due to the bill and said "We fought to pass SB5 thru the Senate last night and this is why!" Abortion rights groups, like NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, believe the new restrictions are not in the best interest of women.
"He admitted on the Internet that the reason why they are pushing this bill is to close clinics," Heather Busby, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said. "It has nothing to do with women's health and safety. Not a single provision in this bill will actually do anything to improve what is already one of the safest procedures in the country."
The bill still has to go to the House before it is officially approved.
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