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The last two abortion clinics in Texas' Rio Grande Valley along the Mexican border are closing today. New restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature last year require that doctors at abortion clinics obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Well, many hospitals have been reluctant to grant those privileges, and as NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports, today's closures have women's health advocates concerned.
WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: The closing of the last two abortion clinics in the Rio Grande Valley means that for thousands of women, the nearest access to abortion will be in Corpus Christi, 150 miles away. And to get there, women will have to go through U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints. The sheer distance has raised concerns about the ability of poor young women to make the trip. And the checkpoints have women's advocates worried that undocumented pregnant women won't even try to seek access, that they'll try to do themselves instead. Andrea Ferrigno is the vice present for Whole Women's Health, which runs the two clinics.
ANDREA FERRIGNO: Unfortunately, I think this is going to become quite the public health crisis. I think the most unfortunate part of it is that there is going to be casualties before we see anything get better.
GOODWYN: Last October, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel threw out the hospital admitting requirements, but the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Yeakel and left the restrictions in place as the appeal works its way through the courts. Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.