Following news that the Alabama House passed some of the strictest abortion restrictions yet this week, the aftermath of the new Texas abortion legislation continues to unfold. On Thursday the last abortion clinic in the Rio Grande Valley, the poorest region in the state that houses two of the poorest cities in the nation, were closed. The McAllen clinic, one of two operated by Whole Woman’s Health that were shuttered, was the closest available reproductive health provider for predominantly poor immigrants and Latina women living in rural areas along the U.S. Mexico border. Following these closures there are 24 abortion providers in the state, down from 44 in 2011 and expected to fall to eight once the final provisions of the new Texas law goes into affect. As more and more clinics close across the state it creates an undue burden particularly for low-income women of color, who must travel farther and incur added expenses to obtain reproductive health care.
Rachel Maddow recently did an exclusive story, visiting women living in the Rio Grande Valley and talking with advocates from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Paula Saldaña, is one of the advocates volunteering to do health care outreach for women there–who are one third more likely to die of cervical cancer. In addition to the increased financial burden that comes with decreased access to reproductive health care, Amy Hagstrom Miller of Whole Woman’s Health says they’ve seen a steady increase of self-induced abortions among women in Texas since regulations became stricter, sometimes with dire consequences for women.