NY Times Bemoans How Texas ‘Abortion Law Pushes Clinics to Close Doors’

Last year, the Texas legislature passed sweeping legislation aimed at improving the safety of the state’s 44 abortion clinics. One year later, 20 of those clinics are closing their doors instead of choosing to make the necessary upgrades required to make their clinics meet surgical center standards.

In keeping with the liberal media’s objection to these new safety standards, the March 7th “New York Times” ran a front page piece lamenting the voluntary closure of more than half of Texas’ abortion clinics. Times reporter Manny Fernandez moaned how “Shortly before a candlelight vigil on the sidewalk outside, employees of the last abortion clinic in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas shut the doors on early Thursday evening, making legal abortion unavailable in the poorest part of the state in the wake of tough new restrictions passed last year by the Texas legislature.”

Fernandez went on to promote Amy Hagstrom Miller, chief executive of Whole Woman’s Health, who whined that “It’s heartbreaking for us. It’s been a very difficult decision. I tried everything I can. I just can’t keep the doors open.” In total, the 22-parapgrah article only included two direct quotes from supporters of the abortion legislation, instead choosing to include a myriad of details about the lengths women in Texas are going through to seek an abortion in the Lone Star state:

In McAllen, the shuttering of the city’s only abortion clinic has increased the costs, the time and the travel distance for women seeking abortions. Women have been making a roughly four-hour, 240-mile trip to San Antonio or a five-hour, 310-mile trip to Austin to get abortions. There had been only two clinics that performed abortions in the Rio Grande Valley, but by the end of the day Thursday there were none. The other one in nearby Harlingen closed two days ago.

Activity at the McAllen clinic had slowed recently. It stopped performing abortions last year after parts of the law went into effect. On Tuesday, the aftercare room, where women who had received abortions were taken to recuperate, was cluttered with boxes of files as workers prepared for Thursday.

“Sometimes on my lunch break, I’ll come back here, and I’ll just sit,” said Lucy Carreon, the clinic’s patient advocate, who is moving to San Antonio to work at the Whole Woman’s Health facility there. “It’s very sad. I can’t believe it.”

Fernandez then dove into how two key portions of the law, the first requiring all abortion clinics meet hospital standards and the second requiring abortionists obtain admitting privileges to local hospitals as key to why these clinics are choosing to close: “Ms. Miller said that nearly all their doctors were unable to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and that some hospitals declined to even provide doctors with applications for admitting privileges.”

Instead of proving a quote from Greg Abbott, her Republican opponent for governor, the piece included unchallenged remarks from Democrat Wendy Davis who engaged in a failed filibuster of the Texas law: “These health centers provide lifesaving preventive care, cancer screenings and birth control to Texan women. Politicians like Greg Abbott are forcing their personal political agenda and threatening the health of women across the Rio Grande Valley.”

Fernandez’s cheerleading for the plight of the abortion clinics didn’t stop there, as he went on to complain that “even before the full regulations kick in, women in rural areas have already had more difficulty getting abortion than those living in urban centers like Houston and Dallas. In the West Texas city of Lubbock, Planned Parenthood closed the only clinic there providing abortions, sending many women on a five-hour trip to Dallas or to Albuquerque, some 320 miles away.” The article didn’t stop there, describing how women were having to travel to Mexico to seek abortions because of the new Texas law:

In McAllen, the problems associated with traveling 240 miles to San Antonio one way-including additional costs for gas, lodging or child care-have caused some women to go to Mexico to buy a widely available “abortion pill” that can induce miscarriages and that abortion providers and advocates said poses significant risks.

The article concluded with Fernandez once again sympathizing with the supposed plight of the abortion clinics in Texas:

On the day of her appointment in San Antonio, the woman, who asked that her name not be used, said she left with a friend at about 3 a.m. to arrive at the clinic by 8 a.m. She had to spend the entire day there waiting to be seen. The San Antonio clinic, it turned out, was packed with patients from the Rio Grande Valley area.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.