Abortion Ruling Expected in Texas Analysis: Minority, Rural Women to Be Affected Most If Top Court Oks Law

By Martin, Brittney; Chavez, Andrew | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), June 27, 2016 | Go to article overview

Abortion Ruling Expected in Texas Analysis: Minority, Rural Women to Be Affected Most If Top Court Oks Law


Martin, Brittney, Chavez, Andrew, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)


AUSTIN, Texas - With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to rule today on the constitutionality of Texas' strict abortion regulations, an analysis by The Dallas Morning News shows that women who are poor and nonwhite would face the biggest challenge in obtaining an abortion in Texas if the law stands.

Since the law at the center of the Supreme Court case - House Bill 2 - was enacted in July 2013, the number of abortion clinics in Texas has dropped from 40 to 18. Currently, 100 counties are more than 100 miles away from the nearest Texas abortion facility - and 21 counties are more than 250 miles away.

Counties in West Texas and the Texas Panhandle saw some of the biggest travel increases after the clinic closures.

One of the contested restrictions, requiring abortion doctors to maintain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, has been in effect since November 2013. A second restriction, which requires all abortions be performed in hospital-like surgical facilities, is on hold while the Supreme Court reviews the case. If the restrictions are allowed to go into effect in full, as few as nine abortion facilities would remain.

The justices had to consider whether the two restrictions put a "substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion," and determine if longer driving distances for women in certain parts of the state result in such an obstacle.

An analysis by the Morning News shows that more clinic closures - specifically the closure of clinics in El Paso and McAllen - would disproportionately affect women in counties with largely nonwhite populations and higher levels of poverty. …

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