Following a ruling by a federal appellate court on Thursday, two-thirds of all abortion clinics in Texas must immediately close their doors now that the state can enforce a law requiring those facilities to undergo millions of dollars in renovations in order to have the same building standards as hospitals.
The law was originally struck down as being unconstitutional in late August, but a three-judge panel on the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the injunction, which had allowed about 20 clinics to continue operations. Only seven clinics will remain open, in major cities including Houston, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio.
The Center for Reproductive Rights says the ruling "gutted Texas women's constitutional rights and access to critical reproductive healthcare." In a statement, the center's president, Nancy Northrup, said: "All Texas women have been relegated today to a second class of citizens whose constitutional rights are lesser than those in states less hostile to reproductive anatomy. And women facing difficult economics circumstances will be particularly hard hit by this devastating blow."
The ruling will have a major impact in the Texas-Mexico border area and the western half of the state. After the only abortion clinic in the city of McAllen closes, for example, women will have to travel 300 miles to the next closest facility.