Texas abortion clinics re-open

2014-10-16 12:33

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Austin - Texas abortion clinics that closed under tough new restrictions ha-ve begunn reopening after winning a reprieve at the US Supreme Court, but the facilities were scheduling women with uncertainty and skeleton staffs.

A five-sentence ruling earlier blocked parts of a sweeping Texas abortion law that required clinics to meet hospital-level operating standards. that started on 3 October. That had left only eight abortion facilities in the nation's second-most populous state.

Celebration among some abortion providers, however, was muted by logistics and fears that the victory is only temporary. Women seeking abortions kept phone lines busy at the Routh Street Women's Clinic in Dallas, where a former staff of 17 people is down to to single digits after the procedure was halted by the law earlier this month.

The high court only suspended the restrictions for now pending appeals and offered no explanation for the decision.

"Some of them will come back, and some of them probably aren't," said Ginny Braun, the Dallas clinic director, about former employees that took other jobs in the past two weeks.

"As one person eloquently put it, whiplash is no longer a sustainable life choice for her."

Along the Texas-Mexico border, the only abortion clinic in 483km will resume abortion services in McAllen from Friday, said Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder of Whole Woman's Health. But staffing and financial difficulties prevent any immediate reopening of clinics in Austin and Fort Worth, and the prospects of reopening another in Beaumont are even dimmer, she said.

Hagstrom Miller said she has laid off more than 50 employees since last year, and that the on-again, off-again status of her clinics have led to taking on $500 000 in debt over the last six months.

"It's been excruciating that I can't provide for them the stability they deserve and the answers about what the future is going to look like," Hagstrom Miller said.

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