US abortion clinics shutter to record low

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The number of abortion clinics across the country has shrunk by nearly one-quarter over the last five years, with 60 facilities shuttered in 2014 alone, according to new research.

A total of 551 clinics remain open nationwide, the smallest figure in more than two decades, according to a survey released Monday by the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue.

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Clinic closures have spiked since the Republican wave of 2010, when the GOP took over the House and made gains in state legislatures around the country.

Since then, more than 200 new abortion rules have passed through state legislatures. The disappearance of the clinics comes as the rate of abortions nationwide continues its decades-long decline.

“No matter how one views the numbers, they show that we are winning,” Operation Rescue President Troy Newman wrote in a statement.

The number of abortion clinics closed this year is dwarfed by the record 93 clinics closed in 2013, which saw a wave of laws in states such as Texas shutter clinics.  

But the number of closures could again jump in 2015, Operation Rescue said. If states like Texas are given the green light from courts to enforce new laws, the group said more doctors will be forced to abandon the practice.

Texas has been a symbol in the state-level abortion debate since the passage of its harsh abortion law in 2013, which drew national attention with the help of a marathon filibuster from then-state Sen. Wendy Davis.

Much of the law was put on hold by the Supreme Court in October, though a lengthy legal battle is still ahead.

“We are continuing to witness the implosion of the abortion cartel in America,” Newman, a longtime anti-abortion activist, wrote in a statement.

“The only things that are preventing total collapse are court injunctions that are blocking several state abortion safety laws from being enforced. Once those laws clear the courts, we expect to see even more dangerous abortion facilities close,” Newman wrote.