McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Features

July 19, 2013

Texas abortion clinics need million-dollar fixes to remain open

(Continued)

AUSTIN, Texas —

               

Miller, the chief executive officer of Whole Woman's Health, operates a surgical center that performs abortions, in addition to her five clinics. She has examined the costs of renovating the buildings she owns and said she doesn't think she'll be able to afford it.
               

"I hope I can figure out how to beat this or how to comply with reasonable expenses. If anyone can I am sure it is Whole Woman's Health and my team," she said. "But this business is really, really hard."
               

Last year, her six Texas facilities combined made a 3.3 percent profit and in 2011 a 6.4 percent loss, she said. She has 140 employees and 24 doctors on her payroll.
               

Miller began working in abortion care at 21, as a receptionist at a Planned Parenthood in her native Minnesota. She founded Whole Woman's in 2003 in Austin.
               

She also operates clinics in Baltimore and Minneapolis, and has been an outspoken critic of the Texas law. She testified against it to lawmakers, participated in rallies in recent weeks at the statehouse in Austin, and opened the doors of her clinics to the public to argue that altering them is unnecessary.
               

Miller said it took her six years to find a surgical center where she could perform abortions, in an office park in San Antonio across the parking lot of an abortion clinic she runs. In 2010, she bought the license for the center that previously housed a pain-management clinic after architects estimated her cheapest option, to retrofit an existing building, would cost $1.5 million.
               

The differences between Miller's clinics and surgical center are noticeable.
               

There are three procedure rooms in the San Antonio clinic that each hold at most three people - a doctor, nurse and patient - next to a narrow bed, a small sink and supplies such as gauze and bandages.

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