Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday signed legislation that prohibits cities and counties from doing business with abortion providers. The bill, which takes effect Sept. 1, specifically prevents local governments from entering into reduced tax and lease agreements with such organizations. It also prevents cities and counties from “advocacy or lobbying on behalf of the interests of an abortion provider or affiliate.”
It does not impact hospitals or doctor’s offices that performer fewer than 50 abortions per year.
Clinics that could be impacted include the Planned Parenthood in East Austin, which signed a 20-year lease with the city for $1 per month. CBS Austin reports the facility does not perform abortions but rather focuses on STI prevention and women’s health. Planned Parenthood has leased the building since 1974 and was able to renew its lease last November.
“We have heard from patient after patient who has relied on this particular location. This has always been a safe location they’ve been able to rely on to get the healthcare they know that they need to stay healthy. We will use every capacity we have to protect the patients and the people that depend on us,” Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas spokesperson Autumn Keiser told the station.
CBS News has reached out to Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas for additional comment and is awaiting a response.
The bill was considered one of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s top legislative priorities for the year and was sent to Abbott’s desk last Friday, after the state Senate voted 20-11 to approve changes made to it in the House. Those changes include explicitly stating the legislation “may not be construed to restrict a municipality or county from prohibiting abortion.”
Abbott has been consistently anti-abortion rights and said last year he would keep Texas a “national leader in defending life,” according to the Houston Chronicle. “As governor, I will fight for every child to have a chance at life.”