SAN ANTONIO – On Friday afternoon, just hours after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood’s Texas chapters announced it would suspend all abortions. 80 miles north in Austin, Whole Women’s Health announced on Twitter it will also stop providing abortion services. The pause on procedures is in anticipation of Texas’ trigger law that would outlaw all abortions in the state in 30 days.
We are pausing abortion services in our Texas clinics.— Whole Woman's Health (@WholeWomans) June 24, 2022
With that said, we are currently working with our legal team to figure out when/if/how we can continue abortion services for patients in Texas.
“Three separate Planned Parenthood organizations in Texas have independently come to the decision to pause abortion care today so that our attorneys have time to read and process the details of this ruling that was released,” said Jeffrey Hons, president & CEO of Planned Parenthood South Texas. “The pause in our abortion care, while very interruptive to our dedication to our patients, is the right thing to do.”
Planned Parenthood South Texas, Gulf Coast and Greater Texas suspended all abortions indefinitely. Planned Parenthood has five locations in San Antonio, but only two of them offered abortion procedures prior to the pause.
While the exact number of abortions cancelled Friday is unclear, Dr. Bhavik Kumar, medical director of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, said it was effective immediately.
“There are real people that are impacted and they continue to be impacted,” Kumar said. “This morning, we have to turn away several folks that were trying to get their abortion completed today. But unfortunately, we’re not able to because of this decision.”
Currently, all Planned Parenthood clinics remain open and offer all other services.
“We have no intention of closing any of our clinics,” Hans said. “Remember, overwhelmingly, the people who walk through our doors are coming in for a wide range of health care up until today, including abortion care. But all of that will remain.”
In a virtual press conference Friday morning, the legal advocacy organization, Center For Reproductive Rights, called the court ruling the “biggest setback to women’s rights.”
“People in some parts of the country will now have to travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles, to access the basic care that they need,” said Julie Rikelman, litigation director for the Center For Reproductive Rights. “It’s critical to understand that that’s going to impact every aspect of their lives and the lives of their families. It will impact their economic security, their ability to pursue an education, to stay in a job, to take care of other family members. And, of course, it will impact their health. And we are on the verge of what may be the biggest public health crisis that we have seen in decades.”
The focus now, according to president and CEO of the organization, Nancy Northup, is on litigation.
“We do litigate with the private bar and have been really heartened by how much support there is in the private sector by leading law firms across the nation,” Northup said. “I think you’re going to see an incredible outpouring across the nation. We work with over 750 lawyers a year around the world, many of them in the United States. So, I would expect this is going to be an incredible moment for lawyers who believe in the rule of law, who are committed to equality, to be coming forward, to be fighting with us.”
As of Friday afternoon, there is no exact timeline of when clinics in Texas or other states will resume abortion services.