The clash over abortion rights and pro-life promotions is one of the most emotionally, politically and legally charged issues in America right now, and no less so for attorneys in San Antonio, Texas, where literally hundreds of women flock from the Lower Rio Grande Valley in search of abortion clinics every week, according to this article. A recent bill introduced in nine states requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, but some providers are being turned down and clinics a closing. The law has been enacted in four states - including Texas, where it is currently being challenged. Attorneys in San Antonio might do well to examine the recent legislation for possible contradictions to Roe v. Wade - the 1973 landmark case that extended women’s right to abortion in the U.S. and stipulated that states may not pass laws preventing women from terminating a pregnancy in the first trimester.
Anti-abortion activists would argue that the new laws in Texas don’t violate that stipulation, but attorneys in San Antonio could see that the laws come dangerously close to stepping on the toes of a 1992 ruling, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which prohibits states from imposing an “undue burden” on women seeking to end pregnancy before the fetus is viable. Several clinics across Texas have closed as a result of the new bill and women's access to pregnancy termination care has been restricted. Attorneys in San Antonio should note how the closure of clinics in the Lower Rio Grande Valley has forced women to travel more than 240 miles to San Antonio to seek an abortion. With most of the Valley’s residents living in poverty, this often becomes an insurmountable task, and so more women are choosing, or are forced by family members, to perform abortions at home.
Emergency rooms in the Valley are seeing increased cases of indigent women requiring hospitalization after botched home-abortions, while families with more funds can afford to make the trip to clinics in neighboring cities. The problem that San Antonio attorneys notice is that the majority of residents of the Valley can’t afford to travel. And since local clinics have closed as a result of the new bill, there could be a legal argument that the new law makes it so difficult for some women to receive an abortion that it is equivalent to a ban. The other option that women in the Valley often pursue is medication abortions performed in nearby Mexico, where it is cheaper and closer, though not often safer. Attorneys in San Antonio understand that the medication obtained from Mexico is only effective roughly two-thirds of the time it’s taken properly, which means that many women must come into the hospital and receive a DNC anyway.
Access to abortion, one of the most controversial issues today, continues to divide towns, neighbors and legal counsel. Issues with the new measure hinge not only on women’s health, which can be severely compromised, but their financial resources and the bill’s indirect contribution to Mexican economic gains. All this in addition to the 22,000 abortions that are estimated to be prevented in the state of Texas in 2014. With 75 percent of these non-abortions ending in births to women living in poverty, attorneys in San Antonio realize that figure means another 16,500 births will be paid for by the state of Texas and taxpayers through the Medicaid program. Not counting families who remain on Medicaid and who have uncomplicated hospital births, that’s $165 million that taxpaying, anti-abortion activists are assumed to be willing to distribute and absorb.