Bill would shutdown 85 percent of Texas Abortion clinics - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Bill would shutdown 85 percent of Texas Abortion clinics

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At the state capitol, where Governor Rick Perry and the Republican majority call the shots, the landscape of women's reproductive health is on the verge of drastic change.

Currently cruising toward passage in the special session is Senate Bill 5, a key component of which would limit the performance of abortions in Texas to hospital-like ambulatory surgical centers.

"The legislation, if it's passed would reduce the number of clinics providing abortions in Texas down to five, located in the major metro areas of Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin," said Mark Jones, Chairman of Political Science at Rice University.

At Texas Right to Life, Melissa Pici calls the proposed restriction the best kind of public policy - the type that preserves lives.


"Yes, the number of abortion centers would be limited, but the question we have to ask here is do we want to jeopardize women's health and is it worth it to put women at risk? I think its more important to look out for their safety and insure that these abortion centers have to meet the same standards as any other ambulatory surgical center," said Pici.

But in a state where recent polls show more than half of it's citizens support a woman's right to choose a law that effectively shuts down 85 percent of clinics performing abortions will almost certainly be challenged in court.

Pat Gray of the University of Houston Law Center says SB 5 would force women in south and west Texas to travel hundreds of miles to terminate a pregnancy, imposing a hardship on those with limited means.

"We are talking about a procedure, that as far as I know, has been safely performed in the regulated abortion clinics that we have in this state," said Gray.


"Unfortunately the definition of "undue burden" is in the eye of the beholder. How the court would look at what kind of transportation is available, what it would cost to get to a city with such a facility, how much would it cost to stay? It leaves a lot of unanswered questions," added Gray, a former state legislator.

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