Inside the latest Texas clinic where abortions are performed before the 6-week ban
- The Fort Worth Women’s Clinic was open until midnight on the eve of a new abortion ban in Texas.
- On that day, 75 to 80 abortions were performed at the clinic.
- The last abortion ended at 11:56 pm and since then they have had to refuse most of the patients.
As the clock approached midnight on Tuesday, August 31, employees at Whole Woman’s Health in Fort Worth, Texas, worried they would not be able to see all of their patients.
Usually the clinic closes at 5:00 pm and everyone who stayed will return another day. But SB 8, the new Texas law against abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, that meant Tuesday was the last day anyone else could have a legal abortion in Texas.
It was the only clinic to remain open until a minute before SB 8 went into effect, Amy Hagstrom Miller, president, founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, told Insider.
“I think people were desperate because they knew that this decision would be blocked in just 24 hours,” said Hagstrom Miller.
According to Hagstrom Miller, since Wednesday they have been forced to abandon most of the new patients due to the fact that their pregnancy is too large for them to have a legal abortion. Most people don’t know they are pregnant until six weeks later.
Protesters sat in the parking lot all night with spotlights
Most people sat in the waiting room for hours before being examined, and on that day, the clinic performed 75 to 80 abortions.
“We had staff and doctors crying at the thought that we would not be able to see everyone who arrived on time,” said Hagstrom Miller. “They called me and said:“ We don’t want to refuse anyone. What if we’re not done by midnight? “”
They had no choice but to stop before midnight because any private citizen could call the police or the telephone line to report an illegal abortion – for a reward of at least $ 10,000.
Hagstrom Miller said the parking lot was full of protesters all day, and when it got dark, they lit up the parking lot with floodlights. “They were watching,” she said.
The clinic was able to examine all the patients who came that day, but this was an urgent matter. According to Hagstrom Miller, the last visit ended at 23:56.
Some women were too far away to get help
Although the clinic was able to abort anyone who was eligible on August 31, they had to refuse some people due to a Texas clause.
Texas is one of 13 states which require two separate personal visits to terminate the pregnancy. Many states require some form of pre-abortion counseling, but Texas law requires the counseling to take place in person at least 24 hours before the procedure.
Hagstrom Miller said the clinic had to refuse some of the patients who came for a consultation on the 31st, because the ultrasound showed that they were already over six weeks pregnant. If they come back the next day, they will not be eligible for abortion under the new law.
The clinic will still be open to do whatever abortions they can and offer resources, but they can only do so much.
“It’s terrible to be put in the position of fulfilling a government mandate as a clinic employee,” said Hagstrom Miller. “They are here because they are compassionate and caring about providing abortion services, and then being in a position to deny someone else’s care is just awful.”