Beaumont abortion clinic likely to shut down if bill passes - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Beaumont abortion clinic likely to shut down if bill passes

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BEAUMONT -
More than 1,000 women use the services offered at Whole Woman's Health Clinic on 18th Street in Beaumont each year. It's the only center in Southeast Texas certified to perform abortions, but it may soon be forced to shut down.
     
A controversial bill passed the Texas House of Representatives Wednesday that would greatly restrict abortion practices, essentially closing all but 5 abortion clinics in the state. Whole Woman's Health is no exception.

"We would have to basically build a new clinic (to meet the new standards)," said Whole Woman's Health spokeswoman Fatimah Gifford. "That could cost upwards of over $1 million." Money the clinic doesn't have, said Gifford.

The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It would also require doctors performing the procedures to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles and all abortions to be performed in surgical centers.  A final vote on the bill could be held as early as Friday in the senate, where it's expected to pass.
      
Gifford says they're very worried about what it will mean for the hundreds of women who use the Beaumont clinic if it's forced to shut down.

"What people are going to do essentially is try to find the easiest means possible to get the outcome that they're looking for... and if that means to have an unsafe procedure or do it themselves... that is going to create a larger healthcare crisis," Gifford said.

At the Hope Women's Resource Clinic in Beaumont, a center that offers help to women dealing with unexpected pregnancies, director Mary Milligan says women thinking about abortion always have other options.

"There is a way, and it doesn't have to be abortion. If you don't want your baby, you can give it life by adopting it out," said Milligan.

Gifford says if the Whole Woman's Health Clinic does shut down, the closest surgical center women can go to get an abortion is in Houston.
   
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