The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on Tuesday that almost all abortion clinics found on the territory of Texas will have to update their facilities so they match hospital-like standards.
The controversial ruling will allow only about eight clinics to remain open in the state. Some see it as a victory, while others, like Ana DeFrates of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, believe this matter needs to be taken to the U.S. Supreme Court.
However, there is a clear purpose behind the federal appeals court endorsing the requirement that all abortion clinics should meet hospital-level functioning standards; Joe Pojman of Texas Alliance for Life explains that this law makes sure that the legal abortions are performed in a way that doesn’t put the woman’s health and safety at risk.
According to Pojman, this ruling is long overdue, as invasive procedures – such as abortions – should be done in a sterile environment, preventing infections caused by surgery. That’s why requesting that the centers have a hospital-like operating room is not outrageous.
Other requirements part of the ruling deal with minimum sizes for rooms and regulate pipelines for anesthesia. Vocal opponents of the legislation argue that most clinics do not have the millions of dollars needed to employ such upgrades.
DeFrates claims the ruling has nothing to do with the health and safety of the women getting abortions, but with putting abortion surgeries out of reach for women. Texas has been on a curb with the number of clinics open in the state, down to 17 from 40 in 2012.
Furthermore, only eight clinics would be able to meet the requirements stated in Tuesday’s ruling, those located in major cities. Pro-choicers are concerned such a scenario will cause abortions to become less accessible and less effective.
Carol Everett of The Heidi Group is among those fighting for women’s protection, and she said it is worrying to see how the abortion industry is willing to offer lower health standards than those usually required in the healthcare system.
Everett is even more convinced about the work she’s doing as she had an abortion herself when she was younger. She still regrets that decision, and the years she worked in an abortion clinic offering the same future prospects to other girls.
She is now a pro-life activist, after she witnessed one death and more than a dozen women in need of life-changing surgery because of abortions. She hopes the U.S. Supreme Court won’t halt this decision, which would mean the clinics in Texas will start enforcing the restrictions in three-week time.
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