- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Planned Parenthood will open a $5 million abortion clinic in San Antonio that adheres to strict new standards adopted last year by Texas lawmakers, according to an official with the organization.

Planned Parenthood South Texas President and CEO Jeffrey Hons said at a fundraising event Monday that the facility will follow new ambulatory surgical standards.

He says $3.5 million has been raised so far for construction.

An estimated 16 clinics across the state have closed since the new law went into effect, according to the San Antonio Express-News (https://bit.ly/OWj7 ). Additional clinics are expected to close in the coming months.

The law includes a stipulation that clinic doctors have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Critics of the law say women’s access to legal abortions has been severely limited. The Rio Grande Valley, for example, is now without a clinic.

“For those women who will have to scrape together the money for the bus ride from the Rio Grande Valley or Odessa or San Angelo, we will be there for her,” Hons said at the event, which included a talk by actress Diane Keaton.

Women seeking abortions make up “just a very small number of all our clients,” Hons told the audience of 1,300.

The new clinic will be the only Planned Parenthood facility in San Antonio that is also a surgical center, spokeswoman Mara Posada said, explaining that a private center currently operates the only ambulatory surgical center in the city.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood and other parties, saying the Texas law has no purpose but to shut down clinics. The center won in district court, but the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stopped enforcement of the ruling and is considering an appeal by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who argues the law is constitutional.

Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, said earlier this month that he welcomes the clinic closures because the facilities did not adequately protect patients.

“Requiring a doctor at an abortion facility to have admitting privileges at a local hospital is common sense,” he said. “In the event of a serious complication from an abortion, the physician should be able to follow the patient to the emergency room to continue caring for his or her patient.”

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