KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Texas Gov. Perry Signs Abortion Restrictions Into Law; Fights Still Likely

Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed controversial abortion restrictions into law Thursday, even as abortion-rights supporters readied challenges and said the law will force all but five of the state's abortion providers to close. Reuters, in the meantime, reports why that might not be true.

The New York Times: Abortion Restrictions Become Law In Texas, But Opponents Will Press Fight
Six months after declaring his goal to make abortion at any stage "a thing of the past," Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill into law Thursday giving Texas some of the toughest restrictions on abortion in the country, even as women's rights advocates vowed to challenge the law's legality in court (Fernandez, 7/18).

Los Angeles Times: Texas Gov. Rick Perry Signs Bill To Curb Abortions; Challenges Likely
The bill passed over the strong protests of Democrats and abortion-rights supporters. Abortion-rights activists and clinic operators say the measure will force the closure of all but five of the state's 42 abortion providers. In a signing ceremony at the state Capitol in Austin attended by more than 100 Republican lawmakers, the Republican governor praised the measure as a landmark in protecting unborn children and women's health (Kelly, 7/18).

Texas Tribune: Perry Signs Abortion Bill Into Law
The law, which would impose several new regulations on abortions and abortion providers, has drawn criticism from abortion advocates and incited demonstrations from both sides. HB 2 would ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, impose new regulations on how the abortion drug RU-486 is administered, require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and require all abortion facilities to meet the regulatory standards for ambulatory surgical centers (Luthra, 7/18).

Reuters: Why Many Abortion Clinics In Texas Stay Open Despite New Law
Most of the Texas clinics that abortion rights advocates predict will close because of a new law requiring tighter health and safety standards likely will remain open -- at least if history is any guide. ... Twenty-six states have laws that require abortion clinics to meet varying levels of hospital standards, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights. Pennsylvania, Virginia and Missouri passed strict health and safety rules similar to Texas, it said. In those three states, however, most clinics were able to stay open after the laws passed, some by reallocating dollars to comply with building upgrades, according to abortion providers and state health department officials interviewed by Reuters (Garza, 7/18).

Meanwhile, in other news on Texas women's health --

Texas Tribune: Family Planning Clinics to Close, Citing Reduced Funds
Three Planned Parenthood family planning clinics in Southeast Texas announced plans Thursday to close at the end of August. The closures result from reduced family planning funds and the removal of Planned Parenthood from the state Women’s Health Program, said Melaney Linton, CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. While the closures were announced the same day as Gov. Rick Perry’s signing of omnibus abortion legislation, House Bill 2, the closures are “a completely separate issue” from that new law, Linton said (Luthra, 7/18).

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