Puerto Rico doesn’t restrict abortion. So why is it a struggle for locals to get one?
By Andrea González-Ramírez
December 12, 2022
It was raining despite the sun — the type of weather Boricuas make superstitious jokes about — on a recent Tuesday at Women’s Medical Pavilion, an abortion clinic in Puerto Rico. The eight patients seated around me in the waiting room looked at their phones in silence as a midday entertainment program played on a small TV. Nurses called them to the front desk one by one, referring to them as “mi amor” and “corazón” as they gave an overview of the 15-minute procedure. An abortion seeker seated to my right took a call and told the person on the other end of the line that she was hungry — it was nearly 1 p.m. — because the clinic had instructed her to not eat anything two hours before her visit. Plus, she said, she couldn’t afford to spend money on a meal — not even from the fast-food joint across the street from the clinic’s pink entrance.
Access to abortion in U.S. territories post-Dobbs is just as difficult as before, and those concerns aren’t even a discussion within the mainstream reproductive rights movement
by Cecille Joan Avila
November 7th, 2022
In June, the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturned Roe v. Wade, effectively eliminating the federal right to abortion, but in Guam, it’s been four years since the last surgical abortion provider retired, leaving the small island territory without anyone who can perform the procedure. Pregnant people seeking an abortion can either receive abortifacients by mail, or, if they are beyond the timeframe where it’s possible to have a medication abortion, they have to travel to Hawai‘i. That is only feasible if they have the means to—and many do not.
For many in U.S. territories, getting an abortion hasn’t just depended on the procedure being legal. People have had to rely on community networks and whatever resources were available to get or pay for an abortion. The common factor is that in U.S. territories, they need to know the right people to ask for assistance, information, and resources, which is ultimately an unsustainable way to access a key component of reproductive health.
Inside the Battle to Save Abortion Rights in Puerto Rico
Providers on the island say access has been hindered by Hurricane Maria and threatened by legislation.
Nov 10, 2018
The most aggressive attempt to restrict abortion access in Puerto Rico in decades came to a dramatic end this week when the bill’s author pulled it from consideration on the very last day of the legislative session. But women’s rights activists say the failed legislation is just the first of many threats to abortion access on the island.
The bill, written by Puerto Rico Sen. Nayda Venegas Brown, would have instituted a mandatory 48-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions, required parental consent for minors, and banned the procedure outright after 20 weeks gestation—restrictions that are common in many states in the continental U.S., but unheard of in Puerto Rico.