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Why pro-lifers own this former abortion clinic in Texas

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Why pro-lifers own this former abortion clinic in Texas

Three pro-life organizations now occupy the building in Bryan, Texas, where Planned Parenthood once provided abortions. A combination of budget cuts, bills and strategy led to this symbolic swap that some say reflects a changing climate surrounding women's access to reproductive health services in Texas.

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The Planned Parenthood shuttered in 2013 when budget cuts to family planning programs like Title X went into effect. The closure was coincidentally timed with 23 other abortion clinic closures across the state of Texas after House Bill 2 went into effect. 

There's obviously a lot of pro-life symbolism in it. We wouldn't have done it if it didn't make business sense, though.
Tracy Frank, Hope Pregnancy Center

At this same time, Hope Pregnancy Center in Bryan, Texas, was looking to expand. Tracy Frank, executive director of the center, said the building was in an ideal and high-traffic location close to campus.

They joined forces with two other organizations, 40 Days For Life and Brazos Medical Associates, to create a pro-life clinic. 

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Brazos Medical is operated by Dr. Haywood Robinson, primary care physician, and his wife, Dr. Noreen Johnson, gynecologist. Both are former abortion doctors who left the practice 30 years ago when they became Christians.  They now focus on pro-life care.


Requirements [in HB2] place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion... and thus violate the Constitution.
Majority ruling by U.S. Supreme Court

On June 27, House Bill 2 was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court for placing an "undue burden" on women's access to abortion. 

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Gov. Greg Abbott Quote

Pro-lifer advocates and supporters of House Bill 2 argued that clinics were under-regulated, creating unsafe environments for women. 

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HB2 required clinics to undergo costly building upgrades to meet hospital-like standards, as well as admitting privileges to hospitals for abortion doctors. Because of these strict requirements, more than half of the 42 clinics across Texas shuttered. 

Why pro-lifers own this former abortion clinic in Texas

The closures left 93 percent of counties in Texas without abortion clinics, requiring some women to drive hundreds of miles or out of state to get the procedure. 

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Open abortion clinics

The remaining 19 clinics serve the 5.4 million women of reproductive age. This demand spiked the wait times to up to 23 days in some cities


Why pro-lifers own this former abortion clinic in Texas

In addition to paying for the cost of an abortion, these women had to pay for travel, lodging, and childcare if they already had children. About half of abortion patients are below the poverty level

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Pro-lifers like Dr. Robinson believe women who can afford a costly operation like an abortion can afford a bus ticket.

Why pro-lifers own this former abortion clinic in Texas

Medical abortions dropped by 60 percent from 2013 to 2014 due to a provision of HB2 that required doctors to follow FDA guidelines on the drugs used to induce abortion. Since the FDA updated its rules on the medicines in March of this year, women seeking drug-induced abortions has gone back up to numbers seen in 2013. 

Other women may have attempted to self-induce an abortion on their own without medical assistance.
Texas Policy Evaluation Project

While the numbers suggest the demand for abortions may have coincidentally dropped during this time, a study from The University of Texas states otherwise. Women who could not travel to a clinic and did not want to go through with a pregnancy often sought unsafe measures to self-induce abortions by illegally acquiring the abortion "pill." 

Why pro-lifers own this former abortion clinic in Texas

Even though HB2 was ruled unconstitutional, women continue to have difficulty accessing abortions in Texas. Clinics face obstacles in re-opening -- physicians need to find new buildings to occupy, hire staff, acquire licenses, and seek funding -- which could take years. 

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