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Two more abortion clinics close in Texas under new restrictions

Two more Texas abortion clinics closed on Thursday because of restrictions in a state law that is being fought in the federal courts.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, who owns the Whole Woman's Health Clinic, told reporters on Thursday that Republican lawmakers have made it impossible to keep her clinics open in Beaumont and McAllen. The McAllen clinic is the last in the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas, and the Beaumont clinic is the only one between Houston and the Louisiana border.

The GOP-controlled Texas Legislature last year passed House Bill 2, which limits when, how and from whom women can obtain abortions. Among the new restrictions are limits on the types of medication that can be used to induce abortions and changes blocking abortions after five months of pregnancy.

One of the changes requires physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. Meeting that criteria has proved difficult for the rural clinics that were forced to closed, Miller said.

“Safe, legal options for women in need of abortion care are now nonexistent in south and east Texas, and that is no accident,” said Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, an abortion rights group. “Anti-choice lawmakers knew exactly what they were doing when they pushed for the abortion restrictions in HB 2 and these clinic closures are exactly the result they were seeking.”

Proponents of the new law have argued that it was needed to protect women's health.

"Women deserve the higher safety standards for both clinics and doctors mandated by HB 2, and we applaud the closures of clinics which cannot or will not comply," Kyleen Wright, president of Texans for Life Coalition, wrote in an email.

Opponents are appealing to the federal courts to strike down the law.

The 5th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the law to go into effect while the lawsuit is pending.

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