Abortion clinics across the United States are closing at the quickest rate since 1973. Is this the result of tougher regulations or a shifting industry dynamic?
Since 2011, 162 abortion clinics nationwide have closed or have ceased terminating pregnancies, according to a Bloomberg analysis. Roughly one-third of these clinics were operated by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, which performed more than 300,000 abortions last year.
Bloomberg attributes this trend to tougher state regulations on abortion. As highlighted in the report, more abortion clinics have closed in Texas than in any other state, due largely to newly enacted laws.
Bloomberg reports that at least 30 have closed since the state enacted regulations requiring abortion clinics to adhere to the same health and safety standards as a hospital. Texas also requires abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges to a nearby emergency room, which means that if something goes wrong, they can get their patient to an ER quickly.
Pro-abortionists are quick to decry these regulations as an organized attempt to limit a woman’s desire for an abortion, claiming that these requirements burden women. However, several women have died or nearly died from botched abortions in clinics that didn’t have competent clinicians, adequate facilities, or sanitary conditions. If these clinics closed because of these regulations, that would mean they had previously been cutting women open without adhering to the same sanitary standards and building codes as a hospital.
However, new regulations aren’t the only reason abortion clinics are closing their doors. As Bloomberg pointed out, about a dozen abortion clinics have closed in California, which is known to be a very liberal state and more abortion friendly than most. In fact, the Golden State has no major types of abortion restrictions, according to the Guttmacher Institute. This means, unlike in many other states, there are no waiting periods, no ER admitting requirements, and no mandated parental involvement for minors seeking abortions.
So why are abortion clinics shutting down in a blue, coastal state like California?
It seems like the business model of the abortion industry is changing. Many of the clinics that have closed in the past five years no longer make enough money to cover expenses. In fact, almost 40 of the clinics that have closed since 2011 cited business or financial reasons for closing. Decreased demand is part of the reason why. Between 2010 to 2014, the abortion rate has dropped by 12 percent.
A closer look at the numbers Bloomberg provided appear to show that abortion clinics are consolidating. About 19 percent of the clinics that closed were located in areas with fewer than 100,000 people. Looking at Bloomberg’s map, it appears that all of the 21 clinics that have opened in recent years are located in urban areas. Planned Parenthood owns three-fourths of these. In short, abortion clinics are moving out of the country and into the city, and most of these are operated by Planned Parenthood.