The Los Angeles Times reported last week on what it labeled "abortion deserts." As that phrase suggests, the article takes up issues of women having to travel long distances--often to other states--to get abortion services. This is in contract to most recent coverage of recent abortion regulations (read more here) which have had the effect of shuttering many abortion providers. Here are some excerpts from Molly Hennessy-Fiske's story:
As more states adopt more restrictive laws and the number of clinics dwindles in the so-called “abortion desert” – an area that stretches from Florida to New Mexico and north into the Midwest – women are increasingly traveling across state lines to avoid long waits for appointments and escape the legal barriers in their home states.
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Doctors are also on the move to handle the shifting waves of patients, flying to New Mexico and Kansas to help staff clinics.
Dr. Colleen McNicholas flies from St. Louis to work at the Wichita clinic, where 40% to 50% of her patients are from out of state, usually Oklahoma and Texas, occasionally Missouri.
McNicholas says she has seen women sleeping in their cars in the parking lot.
“Either they don’t want to wait or can’t because of how far along they are,” she said. “So they look at a map and map it out, keep trying, keep calling clinics until they find one that can take them.”
Dr. Willie Parker recently relocated from Illinois to Alabama to perform abortions there and in Georgia and Mississippi. Many providers in the region won’t handle abortions beyond 15 weeks, he said, creating “watershed areas” where women must seek care across state lines.