Clinic business

Proposed floating abortion clinic in the Gulf to circumvent bans

A California doctor is proposing a floating abortion clinic in the Gulf of Mexico as a way to maintain access for people in southern states where abortion bans have been enacted.

The idea is to provide a clinic aboard a ship in federal waters, and beyond the reach of state law, that would offer first-trimester surgical abortions, contraception and other care, said the Dr. Meg Autry, obstetrician and gynecologist and university professor. University of California at San Francisco.

“There has been an attack on reproductive rights in our country and I am a lifelong advocate for reproductive health and choice. We need to create options and be thoughtful and creative in helping people living in restrictive states get the health care they deserve,” she told The Associated Press.

Autry said the idea is only at the fundraising stage through the nonprofit “PROWESS” – short for “Protection of Reproductive Rights of Women Threatened by the Statutes of ‘State “.

The proposal comes as access to abortion in the southern United States was rapidly restricted after the United States Supreme Court returned the issue of abortion to the states.

Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas saw abortion bans go into effect. A Florida law, which is in effect after a legal back-and-forth, prohibits abortions after 15 weeks, with exceptions if the procedure is necessary to save a life, prevent serious injury or if the fetus has a life-threatening abnormality. .

Autry said his legal team believes there is a federal stretch of water where licensed providers could safely and legally provide abortions beyond the reach of state laws. For women in southern states where abortion is banned, getting to the coast and boarding a boat may be closer and easier than trying to get to a state where abortion remains legal. , she said.

“It’s closer and faster access for some people, especially workers who live in the southernmost part of these states,” she said.

Autry said they are still trying to work out many details, such as where the boat will launch and how the women will get to the ship.