Sunday, December 04, 2022

More than 200 abortion clinics will close if Roe Supreme Court overturns

More than 200 abortion clinics will have to close immediately if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wadeaccording to a new report.

The reportpublished by leading research group Promoting new standards in reproductive healthanalyzed the changing landscape of abortion facilities in the US between 2017 and 2021. ANSIRH has found that the repeal of Roe, the 1973 landmark decision providing federal abortion protection, could lead to the closure of at least 202 abortion clinics – just over a quarter of all abortion facilities – across the country.

Most of these clinic closures will be linked to trigger laws, which will immediately ban or severely restrict abortion access in 26 states if Roe falls. The closures would hit the South and Midwest the hardest.

“That estimate is of concern to me because there are already so few clinics based on this report in those states,” said Dr. Ushma Upadhyay, the author of the report and an associate professor at ANSIRH, said about states with trigger laws. “And they are also very close to each other – they are in the South and in the Midwest, and that only means that it creates large geographical areas that will no longer offer abortion care.”

The demand for abortion care has actually increased in recent years, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research organization. After decades of decline in abortion care, there was an 8% increase in abortions performed between 2017 and 2020.

Yet the Supreme Court is ready to Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overthrow. The case centers on a Mississippi 15-week abortion restriction, and it seeks to move the federal 24-week pregnancy limit to 15 weeks or Roe repealed. A leaked draft decision published in May revealed that the court’s conservative majority was ready to overthrow Roe completely.

The court’s final decision is expected to be delivered before July 1.

ANSIRH’s report, co-author of the Abortion Facility Database Project, also found that the number of clinics that only provide medication abortion increased between 2017 and 2021 – a change likely due to the Food and Drug Administration’s easing of certain restrictions on abortion pills during the pandemic. But the increase in clinics providing abortion pills has mostly taken place in blue states or regions that have already had many clinics.

Upadhyay pointed out that the increase in medication-abortion-only clinics in blue states will be an obstacle for abortion patients traveling from red states.

“Due to the abortion ban, people will be pressured later in pregnancy for when they need an abortion. They will therefore have to look for abortion facilities later in pregnancy that offer abortion care, ”she said.

“But the trend we are seeing, even in the protected access states, is that more and more clinics are just medication abortions, so they only offer abortions for up to about 12 weeks at most,” Upadhyay said. “Once they get to those protected access states, they are more likely to find clinics that only offer medication abortion, for which they will not be eligible.”

The ANSIRH report also found that the number of abortion facilities around the US increased between 2017 and 2021. But the changes in clinic numbers and access depended largely on the area of ​​the country. During that period, for example, 25 abortion clinics opened in the South – but another 48 clinics closed.

And Florida – which had the third largest number of abortion clinics in the U.S., after California and New York, and was a destination for many in the Southeast who needed abortion care – is likely to see closures soon. The state recently approved a 15-week ban that goes into effect next month.

As of last year, nine states had no more than two abortion facilities. And six states had only one abortion clinic, including Mississippi, South Dakota and West Virginia.

“We know that states with limited access have higher populations of people of color and we know that people of color and low-income people will be most affected by this ban,” Upadhyay said. “We can not accept that it will have a general impact on all people in countries with limited access.”

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