Non-Profit Looks To Build Clinics Meeting New Abortion Standards

DALLAS (KRLD) — Three new ambulatory surgical centers could open in major Texas cities this year, in compliance with the new state standards for clinics that provide abortions.

Charles Cohen launched the Texas Women’s Reproductive Health Initiative, Inc. in response to the requirements in House Bill 2, which are set to go into effect at the end of this month. The goal, he says, is to replace the clinics set to close because they cannot afford to meet the new, higher standards.

“In order for there to be access to be reproductive rights here in the state, ambulatory surgical centers have to be built,” says Cohen. “These facilities that are talking about having to close, these are not idle threats. There’s just no way that a clinic that is basically a doctor’s office can meet the architectural standards that are required.”

The state law requires doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, only allows abortions in surgical centers and bans the procedure after 20 weeks.

Passage followed party lines. Republicans have said the bill safeguards women’s health, but Democrats say the measure is an assault on a woman’s right to make health care choices.

“We don’t necessarily agree that abortions need to be done in an ambulatory surgical center in all cases,” says Cohen. “But, the fact that they are going to be done there, there’s no question that the patient will be receiving a higher standard of care.”

Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union have teamed up with the more than a dozen clinics to file a lawsuit against the state of Texas. They looking to revoke parts of the controversial health law that was filibustered by State Senator Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) and signed by Governor Rick Perry this summer.

Because the Texas Women’s Reproductive Health Initiative, Inc. is a non-profit, Cohen says the number of centers they build will depend upon how much money they raise.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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