About those Clinics reopening

Recently, a plethora of sources (most recently the San Angelo Standard Times) have been reporting that two abortion clinics in the State –one in San Antonio and one in Fort Worth– have reopened after initially shuttering as a result of the controversial omnibus anti-abortion bill HB2 (you know, the one Wendy Davis filibustered).

Many outlets in the mainstream press have framed the issue to make it appear that the dire predictions of ubiquitous closures were somewhat overstated hyperbole. After all, with headlines like “Clinics reopen under new law,” the impression is certainly made that clinics could continue functioning even under stronger (ostensibly safer) regulations.

The only problem with this is that implementation of the law is only halfway through. A apt analogy would be to the “Texas two-step;” this law has two provisions that arguably cause clinics to close their doors. The first is the provision requiring an abortion doctor to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and it is the one that caused these clinics to temporarily shut their doors. The provision went into effect a month ago after a Federal Appeals Court lifted the stay imposed by a lower court, which had previously ruled the provision unconstitutional.

The other provision requires clinics adhere to the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, and is the far more onerous restriction. This is the signature part of the bill, and is the most likely to be blamed for the closure of most clinics. It will not go into effect for about 10 or 11 more months, assuming no intervention from a Federal Court in the meantime.

When these clinics reopen, the articles explained, it was because the physicians received admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, not because they had adhered to the standards of an ambulatory surgical center. With all likelihood, these clinics could still close down when the more rigid restriction goes into effect in the autumn of 2014.

So really, don’t be fooled by lazy reporting. This is only a temporary victory that should cause opponents of this law to breathe a fleeting sigh of relief. Nothing changes in the long run if the ambulatory surgical center requirement goes into effect.

Burnt Orange Report has more.

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