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Three East Texas women's clinics to close

From Staff Reports
July 18, 2013 at 11 p.m.

Even before Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 2 - predicted to doom most of the state's abortion clinics - Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast had notified employees three East Texas clinics would be closed.

Family Planning Clinics in Lufkin, Bryan and Hunstville are being shuttered along with the Planned Parenthood Center for Choice, an abortion clinic, in Bryan.

Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Alejandra Diaz said Thursday the three family planning clinics - which provide women's health care and not abortions - would close at the end of August because of funding cuts to Texas' Women's Health Program passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011.

"The Center for Choice in Bryan, we knew, we could not afford to bring up to the standards in the new law," Diaz said. "It just would not have been feasible."

The Family Planning Clinic in Tyler, which provides women's health care not including abortions, is operated by Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. However, it is not expected to be affected.

In announcing the closures, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast issued a statement saying Texas politicians had created a hostile environment for providers of reproductive health care in under-served communities.

"Texans with little or no access to health care services have been deeply affected by state budget cuts to programs provided by Planned Parenthood health centers and dozens of others that provided lifesaving cancer screenings, well-woman exams and birth control," said Melaney A. Linton, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. "Deplorably, the combined impact of years of budget cuts to women's health care services and the dismantling of the successful Women's Health Program will take affordable, preventive health care options away from women in Bryan, Lufkin and Huntsville - just as these policies have taken health care away from an estimated 130,000 others -when Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast is forced to close these family planning health centers at the end of August."

The bill signed into law by Perry restricts abortions to surgical centers and requires doctors who work at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges.

Only five of the 42 abortion clinics in Texas currently meet those new requirements. Clinics will have a year to either upgrade their facilities or shut down after the law takes effect in October.

In 2004, the state forced clinics providing abortions after 16 weeks' gestation to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers.

Abortion providers have until September 2014 to upgrade facilities.

<h3>Map of Texas clinics</h3>

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