n July 18, 2013 Governor Rick Perry signed in to law the "2013 Texas Abortion Law". In addition to establishing a 20 week limit on abortions this law also requires that all abortion be performed in licensed Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs) by September 2014.
Licensed ASCs are held to a much higher standard than are abortion clinics. In this regard the new law can be viewed as a benefit to patients in that the quality of patient care delivered will be held to a much higher standard.
From a practical perspective the challenge will be to maintain capacity within Texas to meet current patient demand. Currently only five of the state's 42 abortion clinics meet the licensure requirements for ASCs (TDH Chapter 243). The strict architectural and financial requirement for ASCs, as defined by state and federal guidelines, will force an estimated 88% of the current abortion facilities to close. This will substantially inhibit pro-choice options for the women of Texas.
Texas Women's Reproductive Health Initiative, Inc. was incorporated in Texas as a Non-Profit Corporation (501(c)(3) application is pending) specifically to develop and operate Texas licensed ASC's in order to maintain access and capacity for Texas women to receive quality pro-choice and reproductive healthcare options.
Collectively the founding board members of TWRHI have over 30 years of experience developing, licensing, and operating Ambulatory Surgical Centers. It is the board's opinion that the higher standard of care requirements in ASCs will significantly benefit patient care.
TWRHI, structured as a 501(c)(3), will raise the capital required to develop these ASC's from individual and corporate donations. Once opened, each center will generate enough revenue to self-fund operations and to offer charitable services as needed on a case by case basis.
Initially TWRHI will be developing centers in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. A second round of development will focus on providing services in Texas's less populated areas.