Abortion Foes Use the Pandemic as an Excuse
Officials hope to achieve their goal of effectively banning the procedure.
March 26, 2020
Who would have thought COVID-19 would give anti-abortion forces the quick victory they could not win in the courts, in the legislative process, or through the deployment of screaming protesters outside clinics? Claiming abortion is a nonessential service that can be postponed so that the clinics’ medical resources can be used to fight the coronavirus, officials in Texas, Ohio, and Louisiana have moved to severely restrict or cut off abortion services completely; the governor of Mississippi announced his intention this week to do the same. Opponents of women’s reproductive rights hope to achieve, with the stroke of a pen, their dream of making states abortion-free.
For patients at these clinics, the situation is terrifying. “We have patients crying on the phone and staff crying with them,” Kathaleen Pittman, the director of Hope Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, told me. “This is hard. So hard.” The clinic is open but has postponed all of its appointments. “We’re looking at all our options,” Pittman said.
Abortion Providers Are Acting as Travel Agents. That’s Wrong.
The spread of COVID-19 will only further complicate the efforts to get abortion patients to clinics safely and efficiently.
Mar 25, 2020
David S. Cohen & Carole Joffe
We will not find out for a few months how the recently argued U.S. Supreme Court case, June Medical v. Russo, will be decided. But lurking behind the Court’s first abortion case since President Donald Trump appointed two anti-abortion justices is an underappreciated aspect of abortion care in the United States: the extent to which abortion providers serve as de facto travel agents for patients.
If the Supreme Court rules against abortion rights in this case, an already challenging situation will become much worse. But even before the Court rules, the COVID-19 crisis is already complicating abortion care and putting more pressure on providers to troubleshoot travel issues.
The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Forcing Abortion Providers to Make Impossible Decisions
Mar 24, 2020
The Choices Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, a small clinic in Tennessee, had two doctors providing abortion care until a few days ago. The center, which draws patients from all over the region, sees anywhere between 20 and 40 patients a week, according to its assistant director Katy Leopard: They come from Mississippi, where there is only one clinic providing this kind of care, and from Arkansas, where abortions can be hard to come by, and sometimes from even as far as Kentucky.
In the United States, an estimated 11.3 million women live more than an hour’s drive from an abortion provider, and often doctors will split their time between clinics to provide more geographically comprehensive care. Last year, the Los Angeles Times shadowed a provider who performed 50 abortions in 60 hours when she “commuted” from California to Texas, a feat that now given a roiling pandemic and orders from state governments to “just stay home” seems difficult, if not impossible, to imagine. But clinic workers and reproductive health advocates are trying to manage, considering that even in moments of global crisis, unwanted pregnancies don’t stop.
For some Texans, nearest abortion clinic is 250 miles away
David Crary, Ap National Writer
Monday, September 9, 2019
After seven states passed sweeping abortion bans this year, speculation soon arose about the potentially onerous travel burdens the laws could someday impose on women seeking to end unwanted pregnancies.
Across a huge swath of West Texas and the Panhandle, there's no need for speculation. The nearest abortion clinics are more than 250 miles away, despite the region having several midsize cities and a population of more than 1 million people.
As clinics close, more women go out of state for abortions
By Christina A. Cassidy, The Associated Press
on September 8, 2019
ATLANTA — At a routine ultrasound when she was five months pregnant, Hevan Lunsford began to panic when the technician took longer than normal, then told her she would need to see a specialist.
Lunsford, a nurse in Alabama, knew it was serious and begged for an appointment the next day.
The abortion underground: Groups quietly help women who have to travel to access care
“We're squirting a bottle of water at a building that is on fire. But it is something that people can do ... ," one volunteer said.
Sept. 1, 2019
By Adam Edelman
It was a warm June afternoon when Judith Plaskow got the email reminding her of a guest arriving soon.
The woman staying at Plaskow's Washington Heights apartment was a stranger who needed to be picked up at the Port Authority bus terminal on Manhattan's West Side. She was young — just 19 — and had never been to New York City before. Plaskow guessed she'd be scared.
Poverty is a hurdle for women seeking abortions in rural America
In the US south and beyond, getting an abortion is not only logistically and emotionally difficult – it can push someone over the financial edge
by Khushbu Shah in Shreveport, Louisiana
Wed 14 Aug 2019
For the third time in a week, LT stood at the reception in the abortion clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana, more than 90 minutes away from her home. She was – again – looking for the right paperwork to show her boss why she had taken time off work from her busy job at a chain restaurant in north-eastern Louisiana.
LT had first showed him a $550 receipt from the clinic. No, he told the 22-year-old single mother, he wanted a doctor’s note from the clinic. So – using the last $25 she had in her bank account – she drove back because, without it, her manager refused to put her back on the schedule.
If Roe Were Overturned, As Many As 140,000 Individuals Could Be Prevented from Accessing Clinical Abortion Services During the First Year
Aug 2, 2019
Average Travel Distance to an Abortion Facility in the United States Would Increase by 97 Miles
Residents of the Midwest and the South Would Be Most Affected
If Roe v. Wade were overturned or weakened, increases in travel distances would likely prevent 93,500 to 143,500 individuals from accessing abortion care, according to “Predicted changes in abortion access and incidence in a post-Roe world,” a new analysis by Caitlin Myers of Middlebury College and collaborators from the Guttmacher Institute and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California, San Francisco.
Restrictive Abortion Laws Have Consequences That Reach Far Beyond State Lines
Abortion providers are preparing for a ripple effect.
July 31, 2019
By Mattie Quinn
When we talk about the wave of proposed abortion restrictions sweeping the nation, we often focus on people in the states where those bans would go into effect. Those in Alabama who wouldn’t be able to access abortion unless their health or lives were in danger. People in Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Ohio who would be barred from getting an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy. Those in Missouri who would be beholden to a law outlawing abortion after eight weeks gestation. The doctors who could face criminal charges if they were to perform certain types of abortions anyway.
What to Consider If You Have to Travel for an Abortion
It’s a lot to think about. Here’s where to start.
June 21, 2019
By Carolyn L. Todd
Getting an abortion is a safe and legal procedure in this country, but it’s becoming harder and harder to access one. If you’re reading this, you’re probably very aware of the many obstacles that can stand in the way of someone getting an abortion. And those barriers just keep piling up.
At least 378 abortion restrictions were introduced in the first half of 2019 alone, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The intention behind these restrictions is clear: to effectively ban abortion by outlawing the procedures after six weeks of gestation (the time since your last period), which is usually before most people even find out they’re pregnant. Lawmakers in Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Louisiana, and Missouri voted in favor of such six-week bans. Alabama intends to outlaw abortion unless the life or health of the pregnant person is endangered.