The fate of a local women’s clinic has yet to be determined as portions of a new state abortion law take effect through this year and 2014.
“We are still looking into all the ramifications,” said Jessica Klier, the office administrator for the Killeen Women’s Health Center.
The center is the only clinic in the greater Killeen area to provide abortion services, with the next closest clinics in Austin and Waco.
Klier said the fate of the clinic relies on if it can become compliant with new abortion regulations Gov. Rick Perry signed into law Thursday.
The law will restrict abortions to surgical centers and requires doctors at those facilities to have hospital admitting privileges. Clinics that don’t meet that requirement will have until the end of September 2014 to meet those requirements, according to the law.
Only five of the 42 abortion clinics throughout the state currently meet the regulations. Those facilities are in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, Austin, Houston and San Antonio.
The law also bans abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy and dictates when abortion-inducing drugs can be taken.
“We definitely intend to comply with the law, and we hope to continue to provide abortion services from that office,” Klier said.
For the clinic, that means investigating all of its options for trying to meet the law’s requirements, Klier said. She has been researching the bill and its implications to figure out what it would take for the center to continue to offer the service in Killeen and remain open.
Not being able to provide abortions would likely mean the facility’s closure, Klier said.
According to its website, the clinic mainly provides birth control services.
Klier didn’t know how many employees would be affected if the facility shut down next year because several of its staff currently work at both the Austin and Killeen locations.
Klier also didn’t disclose how many patients the facility sees during a year.
The latest statistics from the Texas Department of State Health Services, however, showed in 2011 almost 1,200 women had abortions in Bell, Coryell and Lampasas counties. A majority of those women were between the ages of 20 and 29, and 1,037 lived in Bell County.
“We do find the need for abortion services in Killeen is there,” Klier said. “I do think if we are not providing those abortion services, it is likely we will close.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474