After vowing to continue offering abortions to women, even if he had to do it illegally, a Texas abortionist said earlier this week he would close his facility near the Rio Grande Valley town of Harlingen. Lester Minto’s facility will be the fourth to close since Texas enacted a 20-week abortion ban. Planned Parenthood announced last week it would shutter three of its centers.
When the state Legislature passed the ban, Minto initially told a local newspaper, “I can’t tell you how I will go underground, but somehow I will be there.”
But on Tuesday, he told a local television station his center will close in less than 90 days. Minto plans to close his center partly because he does not think he can obtain the necessary admitting privileges he needs to fulfill the law. Both local hospitals are affiliated with Valley Baptist Health System.
In a July 13 article, The New York Times said Minto’s center performed between 1,500 and 2,000 abortions a year at about $400 each. And Minto’s center isn’t the only abortion facility in the Rio Grande Valley that could close because of the new law’s provisions. Whole Woman’s Health in nearby McAllen will have the same problem finding hospital admitting privileges. The facility’s owners also say they cannot afford to upgrade it to meet new ambulatory surgery center requirements. The McAllen facility performs up to 1,900 abortions per year.
Minto told Action 4 News that his center along with others in Texas that have to close are not butcher shops: “There is nothing bad going on in here.”