“Clinic Flipping” — A Disturbing New Trend

By Gauri Deorkar, student at Rutgers University

Whole Woman’s Health of Austin, a longtime, trusted abortion provider located in Austin, Texas announced last week that it is moving—but not by choice. The space that the clinic previously occupied was recently taken over by new tenants with connections to an anti-abortion group. The new tenants are Lion Venture Partners, a group headed by Andy Schoonover, who is also the co-founder of Carrying to Term along with his wife. Carrying to Term is group that aims to guide women with terminal prenatal diagnoses to “choose life.”

The motivation behind Carrying to Term is disturbing to say the least. Essentially, the group works to convince women with terminal prenatal diagnoses to proceed with their pregnancies as normal. Moreover, Carrying to Term also collaborates with fake clinics in at least 23 states. It is pretty clear that Lion Venture Partners’ decision to buy out the previous owner of the space Whole Woman’s Health used to operate out of was no coincidence. Particularly because Lion Venture Partners offered a cash up front deal.

This type of attack on abortion clinics is not new. Anti-choice groups and fake clinics have “flipped” clinics in Maryland, Kansas, Florida, Virginia, and Tennessee. And the craziest thing is when these clinics become “memorials for the unborn.” This new anti-abortion strategy is just one more thing that abortion clinics have to worry about on top of lawsuits and anti-abortions laws (that are extra strict in Texas).

While Whole Women’s Health has managed to find a new space, but it is more expensive and has 700 fewer square feet. Abortion rights and a woman’s right to make basic choices about her body are really important; however there is no right if there is no access to it. Whole Woman’s Health provides holistic care for women including comprehensive gynecology services as well as abortion care. As their mission statement reads, “each woman must be at the center of her own healthcare decisions, and treating each woman holistically - honoring her head, heart, and body - will better serve women and improve women’s health and happiness in our wider communities.

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