By Andrea González-Ramírez
Mar. 1, 2022
During the past six months, Kathaleen Pittman has often noticed some of her staff at Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, Louisiana, are on the verge of tears. Every day, more and more patients reach out hoping to schedule an abortion at one of the state’s three remaining clinics, and the one closest to the Texas border. And every day, the employees who answer the phone have to tell callers — who are already frustrated by having to plan around a 24-hour waiting period that forces them to book two appointments — that the clinic may not be able to fit them into its schedule because of overwhelming demand.
“We’re compassionate people. Hearing these women, who are so afraid and so upset, has certainly taken its toll on the staff,” says Kathaleen Pittman, the clinic’s administrator. She’s been working at Hope since 1992, when she started as a part-time patient’s advocate. Over the past three decades, she’s witnessed a full-scale assault on abortion access in Louisiana: TRAP laws, a 20-week ban, mandatory waiting periods, a prohibition on telemedicine, and requiring parental consent for minors. And yet, Pittman tells me, “Never have I been so afraid of what’s happening.”