To retain access for citizens of southern states with abortion bans, a California doctor is proposing a floating abortion clinic in the Gulf of Mexico.
According to Dr. Meg Autry, an obstetrician and gynecologist, and professor at the University of California San Francisco, the plan is to establish a clinic aboard a ship in federal waters that would provide first-trimester surgical abortions, contraception, and other care. This would be outside the reach of state laws.
“Reproductive rights have been under attack in our nation, and I’ve fought for reproductive freedom and health my entire life. To assist people in restrictive states in receiving the healthcare they need, we must provide options and exercise thoughtfulness and creativity, she told The Associated Press.
The non-profit organization “PROWESS,” which stands for “Protecting Reproductive Rights Of Women Endangered by State Statutes,” is merely in the fundraising stage, according to Autry.
The proposal comes as abortion access has been drastically reduced in the southern United States since the U.S. Supreme Court remanded the matter back to the states.
Abortion restrictions are now in force in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. After some legal wrangling, a Florida law that forbids abortions after 15 weeks has finally taken effect. The law makes an exception if the procedure is required to save a life, avoid serious injury, or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.
Licensed providers could lawfully and safely perform abortions beyond the purview of state rules, according to Autry, whose legal team believes there is a section of federal water. Going to the coast and boarding a boat may be closer and simpler for women in southern states with abortion prohibitions than attempting to go to a state where abortion is still permitted, she added.
For some, especially those who work and reside in the southernmost reaches of these states, this means easier and quicker access.
Many of the details, such as where the boat would launch from and how women will board the ship, are still being worked out, according to Autry.