AUSTIN, Texas (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Texas abortion mill is offering free abortions in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Whole Woman's Health (WWH), an abortion chain with facilities across east Texas, has launched a marketing campaign promoting "no-cost abortions for patients affected by Hurricane Harvey for the month of September." To help cover costs, it has established a "Stigma Relief Fund," which has netted almost $6,000 in donations.
Whole Women's Health is launching the initiative in conjunction with the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, which is crowdfunding Texas abortions in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. It announced via its Facebook page, "We're creating an emergency fund for Harvey survivors, seeking abortion care. With increased barriers like temporary clinic closures, displacement, loss of homes/vehicles and more, access to abortion just got even more difficult for those affected by Harvey."
"There's not really a safety net, especially when it comes to health care — we really felt like it was important to step up and do our part," said Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and CEO of the abortion franchise. "In any kind of natural disaster, women's health care becomes a critical issue."
Miller said dozens of women likely missed previously scheduled abortion-related appointments due to the storm. For others who may have lost everything in the flooding, "it changes their situation," she said.
So far, 15 women, nine in Austin and six in San Antonio, have scheduled abortions at WWH abortion centers.
In April, the Austin facility, widely regarded as WWH's Texas flagship, reopened after closing down in 2015 in the wake of strengthened state abortion laws.
For years, the chain's Texas facilities have been dogged by allegations of misconduct. In 2013, Texas Alliance for Life (TAL) obtained state inspection reports exposing multiple violations of Texas health and safety laws.
"[T]he Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), which regulates abortion facilities, has cited four of the five WWH's facilities for violating current safety laws during the last three years, some dozens of times," noted TAL. "Many of the violations threaten the health and safety of the patients, including lack of sterilization of abortion instruments, lack of an R.N. or L.V.N. on staff, rusty suction machines, and expired and unlabelled medications."
"In most cases," TAL added, "the violations have been acknowledged by the administrator of the corresponding abortion facility, indicating that WWH's is fully aware that they are operating abortion facilities in violation of the law."
In 2012, WWH abortion mills in Austin and McAllen were caught illegally dumping aborted babies' body parts — a violation that earned them a $83,000 fine.
Whole Woman Health is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit aimed at overturning a new Texas law, banning the most common method of second-trimester abortion.
Senate Bill 8 bars dilation and evacuation abortion in which an abortionist uses surgical tools to tear an unborn baby apart, limb by limb.