The most restrictive part of Texas' new. controversial abortion law isn't its ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy -- only 1 percent of abortions occur after this time anyway. It's the "ambulatory surgical center" regulation that requires all clinics that perform abortions to become ambulatory surgical centers, which sounds nice on paper but in reality would require tons of abortion clinics in the state to make renovations they can't afford or shut down.
For Texas women living outside large metro areas who want an abortion, if the law goes into effect it will likely mean a road trip, so we've compiled a handy abortion travel guide.
If you want to go out of state .... An unplanned pregnancy can give you a fun excuse to leave Texas and see the rest of the country. Just be sure to avoid all states that are near Texas. "When we look at the states surrounding Texas, you know New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, there are not that many providers in any of them," said Elizabeth Nash, the state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit group that supports reproductive health. "So if main clinics close, access will be impacted in a negative way, women will have to travel further, they may cross state lines. This will be detrimental to women's health."
On the plus side, California has a lot of excellent women's health clinics and beaches.
If you want to go out of the country... The New York Times reports that many women may be tempted to seek "abortion pills" in Mexico. The drug misoprostol, also available at some flea markets in Texas, can induce miscarriages. What's the appropriate dosage?, you may wonder, and is it dangerous to my health? Answer:If doctors knew the answer to either of those questions, then that would take all of the excitement out of your abortion pill vacation!
"When asked how women should use the pills, some of the pharmacists said they did not know and others recommended wildly different regimes that doctors say could be unsafe," the Times reported.
Also, keep in mind that a woman in Mexico was recently sentenced to one year in jail for having an abortion.
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A more relaxing abortion vacation destination would have to be Canada.
If you want to stay in Texas ... Under current guidelines, only five of Texas' 42 abortion clinics are surgical centers. Luckily, this handy map shows that the clinics remaining open are all in Texas' biggest cities with the most to do anyway: San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and Austin. We want you to come to Dallas, but everyone likes Austin better because it has a really hip abortion legislation scene.
If you're far from a major Texas city and are too poor to travel across the country... Uh, this is awkward, but we have no travel guide for you.
The Dallas Morning News recently visited the Whole Woman's Health clinic in Beaumont, which is the only clinic in the city. It mostly serves poor women, and employees told the DMN that it can't afford to make the $3 million renovations necessary to become a licensed surgical center. And the next closest clinic is 80 miles away, in Houston.