Whole Woman’s Health Opens its Doors in New Mexico, Starts Advocacy Initiative

New Mexico

On September 15th, we will open our doors to the women of New Mexico with a new clinic in Las Cruces.  We will begin serving women not only from southern New Mexico, but also Juarez, Mexico and surrounding areas. The new health center will continue Whole Woman’s Health’s tradition of providing holistic, quality, woman-centered abortion care, counseling and education.  This opening expands our company to a fourth state, joining clinics in Texas, Maryland, and Minnesota.

Whole Woman’s Health of New Mexico not only opens up access to abortion care in southern New Mexico and Juarez, but it also gives access to women in El Paso and the swaths of West Texas that have lost access to abortion care because of House Bill 2. We will be the only National Abortion Federation certified clinic in the area, and for New Mexico residents, we will be accepting state Medicaid. Since New Mexico has no TRAP laws on its books, we’re able to do same-day procedures at this facility as opposed to the 2-day procedures required in Texas, and we will go up to 18 weeks of pregnancy.

Today we also announced a full non-profit advocacy initiative that will work to change the national conversation and reduce the stigma surrounding abortion, and will educate people on the right that women have to safe, affordable abortion care in the United States. There’s no better organization for educating the public on how necessary abortion care is in a broad spectrum of reproductive healthcare.

Staying open in Fort Worth, San Antonio, and McAllen

Texas Clinics

We’re so excited to announce that we’re staying open at Whole Woman’s Health of Fort Worth and Whole Woman’s Health of San Antonio after Judge Yeakel handed down his ruling on Friday invalidating the ASC requirements of House Bill 2 and the admitting privileges requirement as applied in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso/West Texas. We’re also announcing that Whole Woman’s Health of McAllen, after being shutdown in March,  has reopened its doors to serve women in the Rio Grande Valley that have not had access to abortion care since House Bill 2 went into effect in November 2013.

Our model of care has not changed — we will still provide the safest, most affordable, and most holistic abortion care in all of our communities, all as we continue to fight back against House Bill 2.

Should you or someone you know need to make an appointment, have questions, or just need someone to talk to about options, feel free to call us at (877) 835-1090 or visit our website. Our doors, hearts, and minds are open to the women of Texas. 

Anti-Choice Groups Caught on Tape Admitting to Harassment, Stalking Tactics

This morning, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas released a video with Progress Texas that contains audio clips of anti-choice groups at an activist training in Austin (“Keeping Abortion Facilities Closed”) admitting to using stalking techniques at abortion clinics to intimidate staff and patients alike. One official from Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas, Karen Garnett, detailed the way in which they collect license plate numbers to keep track of who is coming in and out of the clinic.

“You track license plates coming into any abortion facility. We have a very sophisticated spreadsheet,” Garnett says. “This way you can track whether or not a client comes back.”

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A screenshot of the video released this morning. (NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Progress Texas)

Former Planned Parenthood clinic director turned anti-choice activist Abby Johnson discussed how her group rooted through appraisal district records in the Austin area, discovering the location of an ASC where an Austin physician plans on moving his abortion care practice.

Johnson, who left her position as a clinic director in 2009 and became a poster child for the anti-choice movement, thinks that her and her colleagues’ shameful tactics have been effective in scaring abortion providers.

“We know where he will be moving if he loses the case,” says Johnson. “These abortionists are feeling the pressure from the pro-life movement in Texas. I think they feel like they’re on the run. And that’s how we want to keep it.”

As clinics shut their doors throughout Texas, anti-choice activists are honing in on the last remaining places that women are able to go for safe, legal abortion care. Not only do women have to conquer an uphill battle when trying to access care in their state, they now have to face harassment, stalking, and intimidation from so-called sidewalk counselors that want to force them into unwanted pregnancy.

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Stats from the National Abortion Federation. (National Abortion Federation)

Unfortunately, these tactics are not new. Anti-choice activists have a long history of violence and harassment directed at abortion providers. In a collection of data featured on the National Abortion Federation’s (NAF) clinic violence page, abortion providers have routinely faced incidents like murderfire-bombingextreme vandalism, bomb threats, and much more. You can view all reported clinics threats here, though NAF notes that the number of incidents is likely higher.

These tactics employed by the anti-choice movement are used as a means of forcing women to be unable to make decisions about their own bodies, families, and lives. The groups involved in “Keeping Abortion Facilities Closed” may consider their tactics to be non-violent, but they are actively creating an environment in which harassment and intimidation are not only encouraged but are the norm, and it can validate actions that lead to potentially lethal consequences.

House Bill 2 Forces Whole Woman’s Health of Austin to Close

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“Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways it can change someone’s life forever.” Margaret Cho (Whole Woman’s Health).

With extremely heavy hearts, we’re announcing today that Whole Woman’s Health of Austin is closing its doors days before our trial against House Bill 2 begins.

Austin was our flagship clinic, serving the community of Central Texas with the best abortion care available to women for over ten years. House Bill 2, which passed last summer, has forced us into yet another closure, this time because we’re unable to meet the standards of an ambulatory surgical center at this location.

Fortunately we’re still caring for women at Whole Woman’s Health of Fort Worth and, continuing after September 1st, at Whole Woman’s Health of San Antonio.

Here is our official statement to the public:

“We wanted to let you know that as of today, July 31, Whole Woman’s Health will close its Austin clinic doors.

“The closure today of Whole Woman’s Health of Austin is the result of politicians acting against women in our state when they passed HB2.  They continue to be relentless in taking personal health decisions away from women by passing onerous and medically unnecessary restrictions,” commented Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO, Whole Woman’s Health.

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The brother that gets me is going to get one hell of a woman.” Aretha Franklin (Whole Woman’s Health).

This announcement comes just days before the August 4 trial date, when Whole Woman’s Health and other independent providers will challenge the onerous requirements of House Bill 2 (HB2) set to go into effect September 1, 2014 in the legal challenge Whole Woman’s Health vs. Lakey. The outcome of the trial will ultimately decide the fate of Whole Woman’s Health clinics around the state, with the exception of Whole Woman’s Surgical Center in San Antonio, which meets the requirements of HB2 and will remain open into the future.

“While Austin has stopped providing abortion care, our Fort Worth clinic remains open and we hold out hope that this trial will allow us to remain open and continue serving that community and possibly even reopen some of the WWH clinics that HB 2 forced us to close,” said Hagstrom Miller.”

You haven’t seen the last of us yet. We have a lot of things up our sleeve and the lawsuit next week is just the beginning.”

 

Join us on Monday as we continue to fight back against these painfully unnecessary, onerous, and destructive provisions that House Bill 2 has imposed on women and their healthcare providers in Texas.

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#FightBackTX

Whole Woman’s Health Takes Texas to Court over HB 2.

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(Photo via Austin Chronicle).

The trial in our second challenge to Texas’ unconstitutional abortion restrictions will begin at 9AM CT (10AM EST) on Monday, August 4, 2014 in United States District Court in Austin.  We expect the trial to conclude on Thursday, August 7, 2014.

Whole Woman’s Health v Lakey is the second challenge to Texas’ House Bill 2 (HB2), sweeping anti-choice legislation that was passed last summer and has already shuttered clinics across the state and left women with extremely limited health care options. This lawsuit seeks to block the admitting privileges requirement specifically as it applies to Whole Woman’s Health in McAllen and Reproductive Services in El Paso—two clinics that are among the last, if not the only, reproductive health care providers offering safe, legal abortion care in their communities. The second suit also seeks to strike HB2’s provision that every reproductive health care facility offering abortion services meet the same building requirements as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), a provision scheduled to take effect in September 2014 that would leave fewer than 10 clinics in Texas and force many women to endure a roundtrip of more than a thousand miles or cross state lines to access safe and legal abortion services.

The trial will happen before Judge Lee Yeakel at the United States District Court in Austin at 501 West Fifth Street as it did with our first trial last October. Judge Yeakel will decide that morning whether electronic devices are allowed inside of the courtroom, though it’s likely they’ll only be allowed for taking notes and not for Internet access. 

Watch our Twitter feed for live updates on the trial as we get them, as well as our Facebook page and this blog for more as we fight back against this law with help from the Center for Reproductive Rights and others. #FightBackTX