The map above shows the clinics that provided abortion services in Texas in August 2013. Now, a lot of those dots could be the verge of disappearing. On Tuesday, a Texas appeals court upheld a set of tough and controversial new restrictions on abortion providers that would close most of the state's clinics. The law, called HB2, requires abortion clinics to meet the same regulations as hospital surgical centers and to have admitting privileges at a local hospital — a regulatory burden that would be too expensive or impossible for most of the state's clinics. Proponents of the bill of say it's about women's safety, but opponents call it a veiled attempt to cut down on abortion rights. “Not since before Roe v. Wade has a law or court decision had the potential to devastate access to reproductive health care on such a sweeping scale," Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement sent to R29. “Once again, women across the state of Texas face elimination of safe and legal options for ending a pregnancy, and the denial of their constitutional rights." The bill has been in and out of courts since it first passed in 2013 — and its supporters are already vowing to appeal, meaning it's likely to land in front of the Supreme Court. But, if enacted, it would drop the number of clinics to as few as eight, making the map look like this:
There are 4.5 million women of reproductive age in Texas. According to estimates, the law would leave 900,000 of them living more than 150 miles from a clinic that provides abortion. The remaining clinics are clustered around the major cities (located in or near Austin, Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio), leaving some of the state's poorest areas, including the entire Rio Grande Valley and western half of the state, without access.