In the Rio Grande Valley, Whole Woman’s Health CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller told msnbc, doctors are struggling to care for women who have complications from self-induced abortions. Her clinic there, in McAllen, was one of two in the border region that had to stop performing abortions because of the law’s requirement that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.
“I can’t even get the hospital there to send us an application,” said Hagstrom Miller.
Women keep showing up anyway. All she can offer them is a gas card and bus tickets to San Antonio, four and a half hours away and at least a two-day affair, what with Texas’s forced ultrasound and waiting period requirements.
Meanwhile, on the ground in Texas, the handful of abortion providers who have been able to gain admitting privileges are scrambling to meet the demand. “The same number of women still need abortions,” said Hagstrom Miller.
Two of her employees have been working full time on the morass of paperwork and differing admitting privileges requirements at each hospital. Her Fort Worth clinic recently reopened when one doctor got privileges – but he has a full-time job elsewhere and can only come to Texas on the weekend.
“We had 100 people come the first day we reopened,” said Hagstrom Miller. “It was like New York, pre-Roe.”
The worst may be yet to come. The state only just issued specific regulations requiring that all abortions be performed in ambulatory surgical centers, authorized under the same omnibus abortion bill. According to Hagstrom Miller, of the 23 clinics with physicians who have admitting privileges, there are only six that currently have that certification, which can costs millions to achieve. An estimated 60,000 Texan women seek abortions every year.