Alabama abortion clinic cancels 100 appointments

A woman sings at the Alabama State Capitol during a march for reproductive freedom against the state’s new abortion law, the Alabama Protection of Human Life Act, in Montgomery, Alabama, May 19, 2019.

Michael Spunibarger | Reuters

The West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa canceled 100 visits to women who were due to have an abortion this week after the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Roe ruling. Wade and opened the door for the states to ban the procedure.

Alabama quickly banned abortion on Friday following a court ruling. Any resident of the state who has an abortion faces up to 99 years in prison.

Three patients came to the West Alabama Women’s Center early Monday morning who had either not received a cancellation notice or received a notice but wanted to see if they could still have an abortion, said Robin Marty, director of operations at the clinic. .

When the Supreme Court overturned the landmark decision on Friday, 21 patients went to the clinic for an initial appointment hoping to have an abortion this week, Marty said.

According to Marty, the West Alabama Women’s Center sends as many people as possible to Atlanta, where abortion is still legal. Atlanta is a three to four hour drive from Tuscaloosa.

However, most of the patients who come to the West Alabama Women’s Center come from out of state, which means that the trip to Atlanta is much longer for them. Some patients come to the West Alabama Women’s Center as far away as Texas, where abortion was banned six weeks later, even before the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Leipzig. Wade.

All states bordering Texas except New Mexico have outlawed this procedure. Louisiana banned abortion on Friday, but a judge temporarily blocked the law from going into effect on Monday.

Places where the procedure can be done are limited elsewhere in the south and southeast.

Georgia could ban abortion soon in six weeks if a federal judge grants the state’s request for the 2019 law to go into effect. Alabama’s neighbor Mississippi is ready to ban abortion after a certification process, and the Florida Panhandle only has two clinics in Tallahassee. Florida is also poised to ban abortions after 15 weeks on Friday, although the ongoing lawsuit could affect the law.

The West Alabama Women’s Center continues to provide aftercare for people who had pre-ban abortions and for patients who have miscarried, Marty said.

According to Marty, the clinic was one of only two in Alabama that was open five days a week because it had a full-time doctor. She added that abortion clinics in the Deep South rarely have a doctor on call all week. Marty said most doctors don’t live in states where they perform abortions because the region is hostile to the procedure.

This meant that many clinics in the Persian Gulf could only perform abortions a couple of days a week when the doctor was in town. But the influx of patients from Texas since the six-week ban went into effect has overwhelmed them, Marty said.

Now Georgia is likely to see the next wave of patients arriving from the southern states with bans.

More women are likely to turn to abortion pills as clinics close and travel distances become too long. Although prescription pills are illegal in Alabama, patients can still order them online from overseas or travel to other states and bring their own medication.

The abortion pill, mifepristone, taken with misoprostol, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a safe and effective way to terminate a pregnancy before the 10th week. But, as with any medication, complications can occur.

Marty said some women who had complications from taking the pills or who thought they had complications were denied care in emergency rooms at some Alabama hospitals.

“Anyone who has any pregnancy complication should understand that they do not need to say anything to the doctor when he comes in, except: “I am pregnant, I am afraid, and I think I am having a miscarriage.” “, Marty said. “That’s all the information they have to give. Doctors owe them an examination. Emergency rooms owe them medical care.”