Abortion bans have barred some 22 million women in the US from accessing treatment: gunshots
Reverse in the 100 days since the Supreme Court Roe v. calf, 66 clinics in the US stopped abortion. This is after a new analysis released Thursday by the Guttmacher Institute, assesses access to abortion in the 15 states that have banned or severely restricted access to abortion.
“Before Roe was overthrown, these 15 states had 79 clinics that offered abortion treatment,” says Rachel Jones, senior researcher at Guttmacher. “We found that 100 days later there were only 13 left.”
All 13 clinics still offering abortions are in Georgia, where abortions are banned six weeks before many women know they are pregnant.
dr Nisha Verma, a gynecologist who practices in Georgia, said she has had to turn away many patients in recent months.
“I’ve had teens with chronic medical conditions that make their pregnancy very high risk, and women with very wanted pregnancies who receive a horrific diagnosis of a fetal abnormality, who cry when they learn they won’t be able to get their abortions in our state and ask me to help them,” she told President Biden and members of the White House Task Force on Reproductive Health Care Access this week.
“Imagine looking someone in the eye and saying, ‘I have all the skills and tools to help you, but our state’s politicians have told me I can’t,'” she added.
According to the report, nearly 22 million — or 29% — of women of childbearing age live in states where abortion is banned or limited to a gestational age of six weeks.
While 40 of the clinics in those states are still open for other services, the Guttmacher analysis found that 26 clinics have closed entirely, meaning they may never open again.
“These clinics are no longer staffed, they’ve probably moved their medical care to other facilities,” Jones explains. “So it’s not like they could open their doors tomorrow if those bans were lifted.”
The report also notes that the cessation of abortion services at these clinics has had a knock-on effect through the healthcare system. As patients travel to states where abortion is still legal for these services, clinics in those states experience greater patient burden and patients face longer wait times.
Traveling abroad can also complicate care. This has happened to patients before dr Sadia Haider treated in Illinois, a state surrounded by states that prohibit or restrict abortion.
“I recently saw a Southern patient with a very serious obstetric condition, an abnormal placenta, [which] can cause severe bleeding and morbidity if not treated appropriately,” she explained during the White House event this week. The patient had already attempted treatment in her own state and elsewhere before coming to Illinois.
“We were able to provide this patient with the necessary care, which unfortunately was more complex than necessary because it took several weeks for the patient to seek treatment and finally come to us,” said Haider.
Jones and her colleagues at the Guttmacher Institute expect the number of clinic closures to increase as more states enact abortion restrictions. “[Our] It’s estimated that there will ultimately be 26 states that will ban abortion, and again we only have 15 at this point,” she says.
She says the next states to watch — where bans have already been imposed but where abortion is still available for now — are Ohio, Indiana and South Carolina.