Dozens of clinics across the country have stopped performing abortions since the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion, according to a new study by the Guttmacher Institute.
The study, released Thursday, found that at least 66 clinics had stopped offering abortion services since Oct. 2, 100 days after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade and the national abortion access protection. They are found in 15 states, most of them in the South.
Thirteen of the states (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) have enacted near-total abortion bans since Dobbs, while providers of Wisconsin have suspended abortion. services due to uncertainty over enforcement of an 1849 ban. In Georgia, one clinic closed while 13 still offer abortion services during the first six weeks pregnant.
PROHIBITION OF ABORTION:After Roe v. Wade, abortion bans from the 19th century became legal matters in these states.
Almost 22 million women of reproductive age (ages 15 to 49), or just under 30% of the country’s population in this category, live in these 15 states. Those states accounted for 18 percent of the 930,000 abortions performed in the United States in 2020, according to Guttmacher, an organization that supports abortion rights and provides research, policy analysis and public education on a range of sexual health issues and reproductive
“The new reality of clinics no longer offering abortions or closing entirely is having a devastating impact in states with abortion bans, and far beyond,” the analysis said. “The loss of clinics is felt in every state, even those where abortion remains legal,” due to large numbers of people from states with travel bans for abortion procedures.
Demand for the procedure at a Planned Parenthood clinic in southern Illinois, where abortion remains legal, has “really exploded” since the Supreme Court ruling, said Dr. Colleen McNicholas, Planned Parenthood’s chief medical officer. the region of St. Louis and the Southwest. Missouri, which operates the facility just miles from St. Louis and also has plans for a mobile clinic in Illinois.
Pregnant patients who used to get an appointment in two or three days can now wait up to three weeks, even with the clinic increasing to 10 hours a day six days a week. “People come from all over the country for this care,” he said, with the Illinois clinic seeing a 435 percent increase in patients from beyond Illinois and Missouri between June and September.
“LET’S MOVE FORWARD”:Planned Parenthood will launch the first mobile abortion clinic of its kind in the Midwest
National Right to Life, a major anti-abortion advocacy group, supports state bans and the resulting halt to abortions at clinics within their borders, President Carol Tobias told USA TODAY.
“Because we don’t think anyone should die, including unborn babies, we think this is a good thing,” she said, as she tried to persuade patients not to travel to other states for abortions. “I would strongly encourage any woman considering abortion to find help. . . . A number of states are introducing programs to help, or already have programs in place.”
With most of the affected clinics located in the South, it means longer and more expensive trips for those who plan to travel to states where abortion remains legal, said Rachel Jones, principal investigator at Guttmacher and lead author of the analysis
“When you look at a state like Louisiana, you’re not just going to the next state. You have to go through multiple states. There’s an incredible impact that these bans have because they’re concentrated in certain parts of the country,” he said.
Of the 66 clinics, 40 still offer other health care services. However, 26 have closed entirely, including the three operating in Louisiana and the one clinic in Mississippi, leaving low-income residents in those states, among the nation’s poorest, with fewer health care options , Jones said.
“This means that people in these communities will not have access to contraceptive care, STI (sexually transmitted infection) testing and treatment, and pregnancy care that some of these facilities that were closed completely “, he said.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, which describes itself as the political arm of the pro-life movement whose goal is to end abortion, said existing and future bans “are projected to protect up to 200,000 children not born annually.” The organization estimates that existing bans, which it calls “life-saving laws,” are stopping nearly 140,000 abortions annually in 15 states, while another 60,000 could be prevented if the laws take effect in seven more states.
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“For the last 30 years, we’ve been trying to make abortion unnecessary, unthinkable, not part of the American experience. Any life saved is a positive for us,” said Katie Glenn, director of state policy. of the organization “We celebrate that lawmakers and voters in these states have been pushing for these laws to go into effect for a long time, and we think it’s a really great thing that the Supreme Court has gotten out of the way and sent it back to the people”.
Anti-abortion activists seem to be getting their way. The number of clinics that have stopped performing abortions has grown since a July Guttmacher analysis found that 43 clinics in 11 states had stopped performing abortions performed a month after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v.
Going forward, Jones said, the number of clinics that stop offering abortions is expected to grow, as Guttmacher projects that 26 states are “certain or likely to ban abortion” within a year of repealing Roe. Strict bans in Indiana, Ohio and South Carolina, temporarily blocked by court actions, could go into effect once those cases are resolved.
“Unfortunately, I can’t imagine it’s going to do anything but keep getting bigger,” he said.