June 14 (UPI) — A new state law against abortion providers won’t shut down a Texas Planned Parenthood clinic that is leasing a city-owned building.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbot signed Senate Bill 22 into law last week, which will prohibit local governments from transactions with abortions providers, such as leases, effective Sept. 1.
Still, the Austin American-Statesman reported that Planned Parenthood of Austin will remain open because the law cannot be applied retroactively and the abortion provider already signed a 20-year lease extension for its health center at 1823 E. Seventh Street until 2039, according to the Texas attorney general’s office and the bill’s author, Republican Texas Sen. Donna Campbell.
Mayor Steve Adler and other Austin officials have argued that the lease should be defended because the Planned Parenthood health center does not provide abortions, but instead provides subsidized health care, such as contraceptives, testing for sexually transmitted diseases and cancer screenings.
Last year, the clinic provided about $560,000 worth of subsidized health care to 5,153 low-income and uninsured women, Planned Parenthood said.
The extension of the $1-a-year lease of a city-owned building in East Austin was approved by the city council in November and took effect Feb. 6.
Planned Parenthood signed its first lease for the site in 1973.
Though the bill didn’t invalidate Planned Parenthood’s Austin lease, it will block other contracts, “and that’s a big gain for us,” said abortion opponent Joe Pojman of Texas Alliance for Life. “We’re very pleased that this law will soon be going into effect.”
Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, said that the law will risk women’s health and lead to more abortions.