Texas Crisis Pregnancy Center Expects Influx of New ‘Opportunities for Ministry’


A Houston crisis pregnancy center is gearing up for a busy season, noting that many new “opportunities for ministry” will be coming its way thanks to Gov. Rick Perry and HB 2, the omnibus anti-abortion bill he signed into law on July 18.

Sylvia B. Johnson, the CEO of the Houston Pregnancy Help Center, wrote in the clinic’s newsletter last week that “this decision will most likely leave only six abortion facilities in operation in the entire state. Opportunities for ministry will increase due to the signing of this law,” she said.

Texas lawmakers who supported HB 2 might claim to be shocked by the pregnancy center’s newsletter, considering HB 2 was ostensibly never intended to shut down abortion facilities, only to “raise the standard of care,” as state Sen. Glenn Hegar (R-Katy) repeatedly put it, by requiring every abortion facility in Texas to be licensed as an ambulatory surgical center (ASC).

Indeed, that’s what state Sen. Bob Deuell (R-Greenville), who carried the ASC requirement in a separate bill earlier this year, said in March: “This bill is not intended to decrease abortions or to close any clinic that does abortions.” Deuell also stated that he “just cannot buy the assumption that all these other clinics are going to close.”

Bob Deuell’s staff must be rushing to correct this misstatement, seeing as how the senator appears to know for a fact that Texas’ 37 existing non-ASC abortion facilities have the nearly $2 million it takes to build a 5,000-square-foot ambulatory surgical center. No doubt he is in a panic, anxious to pass on his knowledge that Texas’ 400 existing ASCs are eager to see their sidewalks lined with protestors holding placards of dismembered fetuses as patients file in for colonoscopies.

Does Sylvia B. Johnson have information that the esteemed Dr. Deuell missed? Perhaps Johnson is getting her facts from Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who last month enthusiastically expressed his support for “essentially” banning abortion statewide, gleefully retweeting a Planned Parenthood-produced infographic that shows just five abortion-providing ASCs remaining in the state if the requirements were put into place.

It’s hard to imagine Glenn Hegar, who co-sponsored HB 2 with Rep. Jodie “Rape Kits Clean a Woman Out” Laubenberg, and Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) huddled in a back room, wondering how they could have been so misled by legislation only ever intended to help Texas’ “vulnerable” women, as Hegar called them, and not as a means to reduce Texans’ access to safe, legal abortion.

“I believe we are improving women’s health care,” said Sen. Patrick in a half-whispered speech during the closing moments of the HB 2 debate on July 16, during which he also asked, “How would God vote tonight if he were here?” (The answer, of course, is that God would vote the way Dan Patrick votes.)

Of course, HB 2 and its ilk were always intended to shut down the majority of Texas’ abortion clinics. And in light of the conflicting reports from bill proponents about the intent and effects of HB 2, one has to wonder if those who voted for the bill understood all along that they were pushing Texans into back alleys or through the doors of the state’s crisis pregnancy centers, which have received $26.3 million in public family planning funds since 2005 and do not provide contraception or medical care beyond ultrasounds that cannot be used to fulfill Texas’ pre-abortion forced transvaginal ultrasound requirement.

We may not want to think that lawmakers would ever grease their tongues with lies about bad science and overwrought claims of religious piety just to pass a law that will help Gov. Rick Perry’s sister make a little money for her ambulatory surgical center. But one has to wonder.

(H/T Sarah Posner)

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  • fiona64

    Opportunities for ministry will increase due to the signing of this law,

    Which really translates into “We will badger ‘the right kind’ of women into giving up their children to the religiously based adoption mill that sponsors us.”

    Where “the right kind of woman” translates to Christian and Caucasian, of course …

    • colleen2

      I believe that the ‘right kind of woman’ would be a. frightened b. not very bright or well educated, c credulous and d.very, very young. Along with being a jobs program for the useless and otherwise unemployable women of the religious right, CPC’s are interested in pregnant women in precisely the same way that cattle farmers are interested in pregnant livestock. They want to profit off the crop of misery and degradation they dish out in the name of Jesus by stealing and selling the infants.

  • Valde

    Bob Deuell’s staff must be rushing to correct this misstatement, seeing
    as how the senator appears to know for a fact that Texas’ 37 existing
    non-ASC abortion facilities have the nearly $2 million it takes to build
    a 5,000-square-foot ambulatory surgical center.

    Anti-choicers are always claiming that abortion is a for profit billion dollar industry. And that abortion is being ‘pushed’ on young women to line the pockets of abortioneers.

    Well, I ask you, if this is the case, why can’t these clinics pony up the 2mill apiece to upgrade? Why, in a majority of cases, are clinics forced to close when these laws are passed?

    • Carrie Nance

      I’ll take a shot at your question. My guess is that these are low-cost health care centers. They are not raking in the profit by performing unnecessary services. So they don’t havewads of cash in the bank. Most hospitals make their fat profits by charging for “extras.” I’ve seen some articles recently comparing the cost of the new royal baby vs a hospital birth in the US. The royal birth cost halfthe average of a US birth. Privatized hospitals in the US consider themselves a business, not health providers. I’m sure you’ve noticed how many hospitals operate within an umbrella corporation instead of an individual doctor-owned unit. A clinic in rural Texas for low income people is simply not goingto have 2 million for updates. They’re not offering frills to mark up procedure costs because the client can’t afford it.

      One big question is why didn’t the legislature apply these new standards to all physicians who perform routine operations in offices that aren’t in a hospital. Dentists pull teeth. Oral surgeons do even more invasive surgeries. Podiatrists, plastic surgeons, lasik eye surgeons, dermatologists and many more licensed doctors perform services on patients in offices. So many people are incensed because the law is not being evenly applied. Even more important to ask is why we need upgraded lawswhen there isn’t a problem. Have we heard of women being maimed or killed in the clinics? Isn’t this simply government overreach? What happened to the Conservatives in Texas? Where’s our small government champions?

      • Valde

        One big question is why didn’t the legislature apply these new standards
        to all physicians who perform routine operations in offices that aren’t
        in a hospital.

        What is most bothersome is the fact that your average person takes these restrictions at face value because, after all, who wouldn’t be in favour of safer abortion services right?

        When your above question is presented to anti-chiocers, they usually fall back on the excuse that ‘abortion is more dangerous blah blah’. No doubt because they are parroting all of the bullshit about how ‘pregnancy is safer than abortion’ – ‘abortion causes breast cancer’ and so on.

        And one other thing – if abortion is so bloody lucrative, why does PP depend on government funding and donations? All anti-choicers do is lie, and reality demolishes all of their claims.

      • fiona64

        One big question is why didn’t the legislature apply these new standards
        to all physicians who perform routine operations in offices that aren’t
        in a hospital.

        Short answer: TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers).

        Where’s our small government champions?

        The government only has to be large enough to fit inside every woman’s uterus and every gay man’s bedroom.

      • cjvg

        And don’t forget the plastic surgeons where plenty of things go fatally wrong, much more so then for abortions!

        But I guess all those physicians are just providing health care out of the goodness of their hearth, after all who has ever heard about a wealthy plastic surgeon?!

        • HeilMary1

          And people like me with our surgery do-overs to correct damage from GOP-deregulated implant materials helped put the kids of several plastic surgeons through school. Funny how the same GOP, which opposes “bad for business” safe breast, facial and dental implant materials used primarily for women, then imposes on reproductive clinic businesses its religion-based extreme building make-overs.