The Austin Chronicle

https://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/news/2023-08-23/austins-last-independent-reproductive-health-center-could-close/

Austin’s Last Independent Reproductive Health Center Could Close

By Lina Fisher, August 23, 2023, 3:14pm, Newsdesk

After the fall of Roe, Texas' largest independent abortion provider, Whole Women’s Health, packed up and moved to New Mexico in 2022.

They told the Chronicle when they closed their Austin operation that it was unclear to them what, if any, reproductive services they would be able to provide under the law (they feared even ultrasounds at their clinic could be considered aiding an abortion). Either way, they doubted it would be financially feasible to remain open in that limited capacity. Planned Parenthood remained, but now Austin’s last remaining independent reproductive health care provider, the Austin Women’s Health Center, is at risk of closing. It needs $75,000 to remain open, and has raised about 10% of that goal via a GoFundMe.

According to the GoFundMe, AWHC has served 3,000 patients since last June, providing more than 1,000 ultrasounds, 250 post-abortion follow-ups, counseling for 25 miscarriages, and 150 long-acting reversible contraceptive devices. In the post, AWHC underscores the bleak – and dangerous – options available to pregnant people in the absence of clinics: “When people search for ultrasounds, they may come across anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers in their search results, which have been found to lie about ultrasound results to dissuade people from getting an abortion. This is dangerous.” They write about a recent patient who came for an ultrasound which identified a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy – she was seen the same day for emergency surgery, and would have had to wait three more weeks to get in with an obstetrician.

“Clinic closures can make people feel alone and unsure of where to go, adding to a culture of confusion created by anti-abortion legislation,” they write. “If Austin's last remaining safe, independent reproductive healthcare clinic closes due to relentless attacks, loss of revenue, and confusion about the law, our fellow Texans will have nowhere to turn for a minimum of 150 miles away from Austin.”

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