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Abortion Provider To Reopen Clinic in Texas, Expands to New Mexico

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT
Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman's Health, stands outside the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin.

A federal appeals court will hear arguments next week over Texas’ new abortion law, after a federal judge in Austin struck down parts of that law last week.

Since that ruling, one abortion provider announced plans to reopen at least one clinic that closed due to the new requirements, and it says it will add a new clinic in New Mexico.

The company is also launching an initiative intended to remove what it calls the stigma of abortion.

Whole Woman’s Health says it’s reopening its McAllen clinic by the end of this week.

"Politicians’ efforts to close our doors have not swayed us and have not subdued us," says Amy Hagstrom Miller, the company’s president. "We’re more than resilient in the face of these threats. We’re stronger and more determined than ever."

She’s also opening a clinic in Las Cruces, New Mexico, which is near El Paso. It will also serve women from northern Mexico.

Joan Lamunyon Sanford is executive director of the New Mexico Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.She praised the company’s expansion into her state, and she says many women are limited in traveling long distances to get an abortion in Albuquerque.

"We know that the deeply personal and complex decision to end a pregnancy needs to remain solely where God has entrusted it – with the woman," Sanford says.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakelruled that Texas clinics should not have to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. He also ruled that abortion doctors in McAllen and El Paso don’t need admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. That’s why Whole Woman’s can reopen in McAllen, for now.

Whole Woman’s clinics in Beaumont and Austin will remain closed for the time being. Its Fort Worth and San Antonio locations remain open. At least 20 clinics that provide abortions have shut down since the Legislature passed new restrictions last year.

Supporters of the law say it’s aimed at improving patient safety, while opponents argue the intent was to restrict access to abortion.

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