Weatherford Democrat

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July 16, 2013

Texas abortion clinics need million-dollar fixes to remain open

(Continued)

AUSTIN, Texas —

               

Opponents of the Texas measure, approved after weeks of debate and protests, said it's designed to end legal abortion. Supporters said it improves the quality of care.
               

"The first goal of this legislation is to increase safety for women," said Abby Johnson, legislative director of Americans United for Life, a Washington-based group that drafts model anti-abortion legislation for states. "Our second goal is to reduce the number of abortions. It shouldn't be that easy to get an abortion."
               

Perry denied that most abortion facilities will close because of the law during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" program Sunday. "History will prove" that assertion is wrong, he said.
               

Twenty-six states require abortion clinics to meet at least some structural standards equivalent to those for surgical centers, according to the New York-based Guttmacher Institute, which researches and compiles reproductive health data. The regulations nationally vary widely and in some cases haven't been fully implemented.
               

Texas was already counted among the 26 states because of a 2004 law requiring abortions past 16 weeks be performed in surgical centers.
               

Other laws have been challenged in court. In Kansas, structural requirements have been blocked since 2011 and are still in litigation, said Kate Bernyk, a spokeswoman for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which fights abortion laws in court.
               

Advocates of clinic regulations often point to safety concerns, citing rogue providers like Kermit Gosnell of Philadelphia, who was convicted of murder in May after a trial that detailed his unorthodox late-term abortion methods at an unsanitary facility.
               

In that case, emergency workers were delayed because the hallways were too narrow for a stretcher, showing the need for the requirements, said Kristi Hamrick, a spokeswoman for Americans United for Life.
               

Doctors such as Gosnell are the exception, according to data from Guttmacher, which favors abortion rights. Fewer than 0.3 percent of abortion patients experience a complication that requires hospitalization, according to data cited by the organization.

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