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Texas abortion clinics reopen after court reprieve
Attorney News | 2014/10/20 13:05

Texas abortion clinics that closed under tough new restrictions began reopening Wednesday after winning a reprieve at the U.S. Supreme Court, but the facilities were scheduling women with uncertainty and skeleton staffs.

A five-sentence ruling late Tuesday blocked parts of a sweeping Texas abortion law that required clinics to meet hospital-level operating standards starting Oct. 3. That had left only eight abortion facilities in the nation's second-most populous state.

Celebration among some abortion providers, however, was muted by logistics and fears that the victory is only temporary. Women seeking abortions kept phone lines busy at the Routh Street Women's Clinic in Dallas, where a former staff of 17 people is down to to single digits after the procedure was halted by the law earlier this month.

The high court only suspended the restrictions for now pending appeals, and offered no explanation for the decision.

"Some of them will come back, and some of them probably aren't," said Ginny Braun, the Dallas clinic director, about former employees that took other jobs in the past two weeks. "As one person eloquently put it this morning, whiplash is no longer a sustainable life choice for her."

Along the Texas-Mexico border, the only abortion clinic in 300 miles will resume abortion services in McAllen starting Friday, said Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder of Whole Woman's Health. But staffing and financial difficulties prevent any immediate reopening of clinics in Austin and Fort Worth, and the prospects of reopening another in Beaumont are even dimmer, she said.

Hagstrom Miller said she has laid off more than 50 employees since last year, and that the on-again, off-again status of her clinics have led to taking on $500,000 in debt over the last six months.


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