A new report finds that abortion facilities are closing at their fastest rate since the Supreme Court mandated legalization of the practice nationwide in 1973.
Bloomberg reports that 162 clinics in the United States have closed or ceased performing abortions since 2011. Approximately one-third of these clinics were operated by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of abortions. Only 21 new facilities have opened during that time period.
“No region was exempt, though some states lost more than others,” according to Bloomberg. “Texas, which in 2013 passed sweeping clinic regulations that are under scrutiny by the Supreme Court, saw the most: at least 30. It was followed by Iowa, with 14, and Michigan, with 13. California’s loss of a dozen providers shows how availability declined, even in states led by Democrats, who tend to be friendly to abortion rights.”
Texas requires abortion clinics to adhere to the same health and safety standards as a hospital, as well as mandates that abortion doctors have admitting privileges to a nearby emergency room. The abortion rate has dropped 13 percent in the Lone Star State since the enactment of the new legislation.
The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing a suit brought by abortion providers in March challenging the constitutionality of Texas’ abortion facility requirements. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld all the contested provisions of the law last June, finding it did not place an undue an burden in relation to the decision in Roe v. Wade.
Health safety requirements and other laws related to abortions, such as parental consent and waiting periods, are not the only reason abortion facilities are closing. California, which has no major restrictions on abortion, nor the same safety requirements as Texas, none-the-less saw 12 closures.
The number of abortion facilities nationwide peaked in the late 1980s at 705, according to the Guttmacher Institute. By 2011 that number had dropped to 553. Five states are down to one clinic.
“State regulations that make it too expensive or logistically impossible for facilities to remain in business drove more than a quarter of the closings. Industry consolidation, changing demographics, and declining demand were also behind the drop, along with doctor retirements and crackdowns on unfit providers,” Bloomberg reports.
h/t: The Federalist