U.S. Doctor Proposes Floating Abortion Clinic to Avoid State Laws

A floating abortion clinic in the Gulf of Mexico has been proposed by a California physician to provide abortion access for women in southern states where abortions have been banned or severely restricted, reported the Associated Press on July 10.

The proposal follows the recent Supreme Court decision to uphold  a Mississippi law that restricts abortion but also overthrows Roe v. Wade.  Because of the court’s ruling (6-3), abortion law is now the responsibility of the states, as was the case prior to Roe.  Many southern states have put in place abortion restrictions or currently are seeking them in the courts.

Dr. Meg Autry, obstetrician, gynecologist, and professor at the University of California San Francisco came up with the abortion-boat idea, stating that this floating clinic would be in federal waters and would evade state laws that ban abortions, reported AP

“The idea is to provide a clinic aboard a ship in federal waters, and out of reach of state laws, that would offer first trimester surgical abortions, contraception and other care,” she said.

“There’s been an assault on reproductive rights in our country and I’m a lifelong advocate for reproductive health and choice,” said Autry. “We have to create options and be thoughtful and creative to help people in restrictive states to get the health care they deserve.”


NBC Bay Area content producer Alyssa Goard tweeted, “A Bay Area OB-GYN is organizing to bring abortion services to people in states like Texas & Louisiana via a ship on federal waters on the Gulf of Mexico. The goal is to use donations so that services are little to no cost to patients.”

Currently, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas have banned abortion except under certain circumstances. A recently enacted Florida law bans abortion after 15 weeks, unless an abortion would save the mother’s life, prevent a serious injury to the mother, or if the baby has a fatal abnormality.

Dr. Autry believes a floating clinic would provide “closer and faster access for some people, particularly for working people that live in the southernmost part of these states,” reported AP.

This idea is in the planning stages and fundraising efforts for the clinic are currently being driven by the non-profit, “PRROWESS”- “Protecting Reproductive Rights of Women Endangered by State Statutes,” said the news service.


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