Sharp rise in US abortion clinic closures after Roe v Wade overturned | US news

The number of clinics offering abortion care in 11 US states that have implemented total or six-week bans in the month since the supreme court overturned abortion rights has dropped from 71 to 43, a new study shows.

In the study released on Thursday, the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit that studies sexual and reproductive health, said that among the the 11 states, as of 24 July seven no longer had a single clinic providing abortion care.

Those states were Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas.

The majority of those states had between one and five abortion clinics before the conservative-dominated court overturned Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that affirmed the constitutional right to abortion.

The seven states accounted for 80,500 abortions in 2020, an average of 6,700 a month.

As of 24 July, the Guttmacher report said, four states – Georgia, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee – had implemented an abortion ban starting at six weeks of pregnancy.

According to the study, Georgia and Tennessee now have fewer clinics providing abortion services than before the supreme court decision. Georgia, which previously had 14 clinics, now has 13. In Tennessee, the number of clinics dropped from seven to three.

One reason the institute cited as a probable cause for falling numbers of abortion clinics in such states is that many people are not able to get an abortion due to the drastically shortened access window.

Before six weeks of pregnancy, many are unaware they are pregnant. Those who are aware are left with two weeks at most to decide whether to undergo an abortion, then schedule and obtain one, which usually includes logistical obstacles such as long and sometimes forced waiting periods.

Such restrictions can push people beyond the six-week limit, thus making an in-state abortion very difficult to obtain.

In a statement, Rachel Jones, principal research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, said: “While 11 states already had complete or six-week bans one month after the decision, even more will implement abortion bans in the coming days, weeks and months.

“Kentucky and Florida have begun rolling back access to abortion by implementing 15-week abortion bans. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, legal uncertainty over the status of the state’s pre-Roe abortion ban has caused providers to stop offering abortion care.

“In total, as many as 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion now that Roe is no longer in place.”

“These clinic closures resulting from state-level bans will further deepen inequities in access to care based on race, gender, income, age or immigration status since long travel distances to reach a clinic in another state will be a barrier for many people.”

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