Abortion providers are moving to several states, closing and opening clinics and operating across state lines after last month’s overthrow of Roe vs Wade, the court ruling that federally protected abortion rights.
dr. Alan Braid, a high-profile abortion provider who banned the Texas heartbeat after six weeks, is closing his clinics in Texas and Oklahoma, where abortion became illegal after the groundbreaking June 24 Supreme Court decision.
He told The Washington Post that he is opening new clinics in Illinois and New Mexico, selecting locations most accessible to women who can no longer obtain legal abortions in their own countries.
Braid performed abortions after the Texas Heartbeat Act went into effect last September and wrote about it openly. He hoped to be indicted to test the constitutionality of the heartbeat law. Anti-abortion proponents did not grab the bait and left him alone.
However, the Supreme Court decision leads to a 1925 Texas law banning all abortions from the time of conception. As a result, Braid closes his clinic in San Antonio.
Now Texas women will have to travel far to get service from Braid. San Antonio is approximately 720 miles from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and 920 miles from Carbondale, Illinois, where its two new clinics will be located.
Other doctors are also leaving Texas and other states that severely restrict abortion.
dr. A Harvard Medical School graduate, Samuel Dickman settled in San Antonio three years ago and worked for Planned Parenthood South Texas. He moved to Montana in May after abortion became restrictive in Texas.
Dickman told Texas Monthly he is discouraged at having to regularly turn away vulnerable patients, and the experience felt “like a never-ending tragedy.”
Abortion is still legal in Montana. Surrounded by four states that prohibit abortion, Dickman’s services will likely be in demand in Montana.
“I look forward to being able to practice medicine with less state interference,” he said. “I’m not alone. Other providers like me have already left, or are planning to.”
However, it is not clear whether Dickman will last in Montana. Although abortion is protected by a 1999 court ruling, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte said he is in talks with state legislative leaders about the next steps to enact a law to “improve life in Montana.” to protect”.
In Ohio, Dr. Catherine Romanos plans to make regular trips to Michigan starting this month to perform abortions, she told The Wall Street Journal.
Romanos said she is applying for a medical license in Michigan and Illinois, where abortion is legal. In Ohio, she rejects patients whose pregnancies are past the stage allowed by state law, and advises them to seek abortions in other states.
Some states such as Kansas, Illinois, Colorado and New Mexico are surrounded by states that prohibit abortion and have emerged as central entry points for people seeking abortions in neighboring states. Many clinics have seen demand for their service double after the Roe decision.
Those clinics are struggling to hire more staff to meet increasing demand from outside the states. The Journal reported that the Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center in Colorado recently hired two medical assistants from Texas. Choices, an abortion clinic in Memphis, Tennessee, is opening a second location three hours away in Carbondale, Illinois. Another abortion provider is moving its staff from Tennessee to Illinois.
dr. Jessica Rubino of the Austin Women’s Health Center told Texas Monthly that she, like some of her colleagues, is considering whether to move to New Mexico.
She said life at her clinic has been marked by chaos and despair for months since the Texas Heartbeat Act went into effect. To cope, she recently adopted a dog, took up yoga, and started taking an antidepressant.
“I already have patients asking me how to perform procedures at home,” Rubino said. “I really suffered during the fall. I’ve never had to deny people human rights before, and it’s crushing.”
Some have decided to stay put.
dr. Amna Dermish, the chief operating and medical services officer for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, told Texas Monthly she plans to stay in Texas.
“The need for healthcare in our community will still be there no matter what happens this summer, and I want to be a part of whatever solution we offer,” she said. ‘I stay. I can’t leave.’
A doctor gets creative and plans to open a floating clinic off the Gulf of Mexico. dr. Meg Autry, an OB-GYN and professor at the University of California at San Francisco, has founded a nonprofit organization PRROWESS (Protecting Reproductive Rights of Women Endangered by State Statutes) to raise money to modify a boat to offer surgical abortion to pregnant women up to 14 weeks. By operating in federal waters, its activities are not restricted by state laws.
The website says it will help women who live primarily in Texas and Louisiana, where abortion is limited and travel to neighboring states is long and difficult. The service is either free or low cost, depending on a patient’s financial situation.
PRROWESS is raising fundraising with an initial goal of $20 million and hopes to open within a year. The organization has said that if the project is not successful, the remaining money will be distributed to other projects focusing on abortion access.