In the 100 days since the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, 66 clinics in the United States have stopped offering abortions. It is according to a new analysis published Thursday by the Guttmacher Institute, assessing 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 provided abortion care,” says Rachel Jones, senior researcher at Guttmacher. “We found that 100 days later, there were only 13 left.”
The 13 clinics still offering abortions are in Georgia, where abortion is banned six weeks before many women know they are pregnant.
Dr. Nisha Verma, an OB-GYN who practices in Georgia, said she has had to turn away many patients in recent months.
“I’ve had teenage girls with chronic conditions that make their pregnancies very high risk and women with very wanted pregnancies who get a terrible diagnosis of fetal abnormality cry when they find out they can’t have an abortion. in our state and are begging me to help them,” she told President Biden and members of the White House Task Force on Access to Reproductive Health Care this week.
“Imagine looking someone in the eye and saying, ‘I have all the skills and all the tools to help you, but the politicians in our state told me I couldn’t,'” she said. added.
Nearly 22 million – or 29% – of women of childbearing age live in a state where abortion is prohibited or limited to six weeks gestational age, according to the report.
While 40 of the clinics in those states are still open for other services, Guttmacher’s analysis found that 26 clinics had closed completely, meaning they may never reopen.
“These clinics are no longer staffed, they’ve probably moved their medical supplies to other facilities,” Jones says. “So it’s not like they could open their doors tomorrow if those bans were lifted.”
The report also notes that stopping abortion services at these clinics has a ripple effect on the healthcare system. As patients travel to states where abortion is still legal for these services, clinics in those states experience greater patient loads and patients face longer wait times.
Having to travel out of state can also complicate care. This has happened to patients Dr. Sadia Haider treated in Illinois, a state surrounded by states that ban or restrict abortion.
“I recently saw a patient from a southern state with a very serious obstetric condition, an abnormal placenta, [which] can cause severe bleeding and morbidity if not treated appropriately,” she explained at the White House event this week. The patient had already tried to get treatment in her own state and elsewhere before coming to Illinois.
“We were able to provide the care required for this patient, which was unfortunately more complex than necessary as it took several weeks for the patient to seek care and finally see us,” Haider said.
Jones and his colleagues at the Guttmacher Institute expect the number of clinic closings to increase as more states enact abortion restrictions. “[Our] the estimate is that ultimately there are 26 states that are going to 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 implemented but abortions are still accessible for now — are Ohio, Indiana and South Carolina.