Whole Woman’s Health announced Wednesday that it will move the operations of its four shuttered Texas abortion clinics to New Mexico, and launched a GoFundMe fundraiser for $750,000 to open a location on the New Mexico-Texas border.
The new clinic will provide first and second trimester abortions to patients.
“With the shuttering of our four Texas clinics, we do not have the financial reserves to open in New Mexico without community support. We are asking for your help as we vacate our Texas clinics, move our needed equipment and supplies, buy and renovate a new clinic building, relocate and hire staff, and set up Whole Woman’s Health of New Mexico,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health and Whole Woman’s Health Alliance, said in a statement to reporters.
The fundraiser will help the organization buy and renovate a building, and relocate and hire staff from some of its McAllen, Fort Worth, McKinney and Austin clinics. It will also cover licensing and certifications for staff members in New Mexico. Whole Woman’s Health did not specify its plans for additional clinics.
Whole Woman’s Health is the latest abortion provider to decamp for New Mexico after the Supreme Court overruled the constitutional right to abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last month. Mississippi’s Jackson Women’s Health, the clinic named in Supreme Court lawsuit, aims to open its clinic in Las Cruces, New Mexico, sometime in July.
New Mexico is the last state bordering Texas that protects abortion rights. Oklahoma’s overlapping laws might as well be a pile of spaghetti with six-week bans, a total ban and a bounty-hunter enforcement mechanism. Arkansas has a trigger ban that bans all abortions unless “the mother’s” life is in danger. And over the holiday weekend, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry requested that the state Supreme Court lift the temporary restraining order that is keeping a total abortion ban from being enforced in his state.
New Mexico doesn’t have any of the abortion restrictions or targeted restrictions on abortion providers; does not have waiting periods that require multiple appointments or mandated parental involvement; nor does it limit how state Medicaid can fund abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Whole Woman’s Health has provided abortions in Texas since 2003, but the organization became nationally known when it challenged a Texas law in 2013 that required abortion clinics to be outfitted like ambulatory surgical centers and require providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. These regulations closed more than half of abortion clinics in the state. The 5-3 Supreme Court decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt overturned the regulations in June 2016. It was seen as a bellwether for positive abortion jurisprudence—but of course, the court soon turned on abortion providers, allowing Texas Senate Bill 8 (the six-week ban with a bounty-hunter-like enforcement provision) to go into effect during the pandemic.
As more out-of-state patients head to New Mexico to get abortions, Whole Woman’s Health said it recognizes that the state will need another clinic to serve the existing needs of New Mexicans.
“The good news is that abortion is legally protected in New Mexico with no harmful restrictions that could hinder our highly-trained staff from providing the compassionate, high-quality care we’re known for in our communities,” the organization said in a statement.