FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — The major abortion care providers in Texas immediately stopped offering the procedure after the Supreme Court's ruling came down.
"The reversing of Roe is not abstract for us at all," said Amy Hagstrom Miller, President and CEO of Whole Woman's Health. "Today we had to call hundreds of our patients in Texas and cancel their appointments."
Whole Woman's Health runs four Texas clinics in Fort Worth, McAllen, Austin and McKinney.
"We are still answering the phones," Miller said. "The clinic's open today hoping to see patients, so a lot of those patients had to be rescheduled. People are requesting that we keep them on waiting lists in case we are able to reopen once we have a clear definition of what laws are in effect and enforceable and when."
Miller says ceasing to perform abortions is the best way to protect staff and patients because of the legal uncertainty.
The organization believes the consequences will be devastating.
"Access to safe abortion has advanced not only women's healthcare - but economically, physically, mentally has advanced people's health and safety in our communities in general," Miller said. "When you ban abortion, maternal mortality skyrockets. People die from continuing pregnancies they did not feel ready and were not physically able to continue."
Planned Parenthood has also decided to temporary pause all abortion procedures in Texas, but its clinics will remain open to provide other healthcare needs.
"Planned Parenthood is here for good," said Jeffrey Hons with Planned Parenthood South Texas. "Our family planning services just became all the more essential. But the impact of today's devastating, unjust ruling will be felt all over our communities. It will be felt today by people who are learning of an unintended pregnancy."
Anti-abortion groups like Texas Right to Life are celebrating the ruling and relieved clinics have already stopped providing abortion care.
"This is a historic moment for the pro-life movement that we've been working toward for 50 years," said Rebecca Parma, a senior legislative associate at Texas Right to Life. "So very excited and celebrating and just really thankful for the Supreme Court, overturning this unjust decision in Roe v. Wade, and returning that authority to regulate abortion to the state."
An abortion-free state has always been the goal for Texas Right to Life, but they say there is still more work to be done.
"We want those children in the world, and I'd much rather have a situation where we figure out how to care for them and love them and serve them and give them a chance at life," Parma said. "This isn't the end of the story. It's just the end of one chapter and now becomes a new phase where we get to lean in more into making Texas a fully pro-life state. "
Providers' ability to provide abortions has already been severely restricted in the state when the six week ban, or so-called Heartbeat Bill, went into effect about 10 months ago.
Doctors say the current restrictions have shown them the impact of limiting abortion care.
"The devastation and the desperation is personal," said Dr. Amna Dermish, an abortion care provider at Planned Parenthood. "It is heartbreaking and it is happening. It has been happening every single day. I have witnessed firsthand the impact on my community, and also the stark differences between those who have the means to travel for their abortion and those who do not."
for more features.