Published: Tue, July 25, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

For undocumented immigrants, it's almost impossible to get abortion in South Texas | National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

For undocumented immigrants, it's almost impossible to get abortion in South Texas | National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

This article was originally posted on Fusion.

If you're a woman in South Texas trying to get a safe, legal abortion, your options are limited . If you're undocumented, it's now almost impossible thanks to a wall of roving border patrol checkpoints that stand between you and the remaining abortion clinics.

Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decided In the name of "patient safety" Texas can legally require all abortion clinics to meet hospital-style equipment and staffing standards - a decision which closed 13 clinics overnight, including the last remaining clinic in the poverty-stricken Rio Grande Valley. P>

For undocumented women in the region, crossing an inland border checkpoint to get an abortion means risking deportation. Two years ago, 41 abortion clinics operated in Texas, including four that were accessible without crossing an inland checkpoint. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found there were 18 moving ", but it was not a" Tactical checkpoints "stationed within 100 miles of the Mexico-Texas border on roads leading north. In addition, permanent checkpoints are stationed on major highways, including US-281, the highway a woman would take to make the four-hour journey from the Rio Grande Valley to the nearest clinic that remains open in San Antonio.

P> "Even if, in the slim chance they could travel hundreds of thousands, if they could find childcare, get a day off work, assuming that's all possible, undocumented women are terrified of crossing the border checkpoint," said Kimberly Inez McGuire , A spokesperson for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, an organization that provides resources for women seeking abortions in the Rio Grande Valley.

An estimated 1.65 million undocumented people live in Texas, with a heavy concentration of unauthorized immigrants residing in the Rio Grande Valley, where about one-third of the population also live under the poverty line. The four counties that make up the Rio Grande Valley are overwhelmingly Latino.

In last week's ruling, the three-judge panel agreed with the state's lawyers who argued there was little to prove that a large portion of women seeking Abortions would find an "unconstitutional burden" due to the closing of the 13 clinics. One in six women would have to drive more than 150 miles for an abortion, the judges concluded.

"This is nowhere near a 'large fraction,'" Inez McGuire of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health called the judges' ruling shockingly out of touch. "

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" I would invite anyone who does not see this as an 'undue burden' to try "The whole woman's health clinic in McAllen, Texas was the last to remain open in the Rio Grande Valley. The center was forced to close for several months with the passage of the new restrictions, and then reopened for about a month after a favorable decision from a federal judge.

"The first day we reopened our doors in McAllen , We helped over 20 women, "said Andrea Ferrigno of Whole Woman's Health. "What we have to remember is even though it has been six months ago [the new law] shuttered our doors, it did nothing to take the need away."

Without safe, legal abortions, women in the region have Has been forced to turn to alternatives - the best known of which is the hexagonal pill known as the "misoprostol" or "Cytotec" which may be purchased at informal flea markets called fleas.

Inez McGuire says they will continue fighting the Texas law and other laws like it around the country.

"Inez McGuire said. "The struggle continues."

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