Nearly six months after the United States Supreme Court ruled in June that abortion is not a constitutional right, now 14 states no longer have a single abortion clinic, according to a report released by the Abortion Care Network (ACN).
ACN reports that the following states no longer house abortion clinics within their borders: Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Since 2017, ACN has tracked 133 independent abortion clinic closures with nearly one-third of the closures occurring this year. Forty-two independent abortion clinics have closed so far in 2022, more than double the closures in 2021.
Pro-life advocates say the closure of independent abortion clinics is especially significant in light of ACN’s reporting that independently-owned clinics represent 62 % of all abortion clinics in the U.S. that provide abortions beyond the first trimester of pregnancy.
Polls consistently show most Americans support strong legal protections for unborn babies from abortion, especially after the first trimester. A recent Harvard poll found 72 % of Americans, including 75 % of women, oppose abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Another Marist poll in January similarly found 71 % of Americans oppose abortion after the first three months of pregnancy.
ACN’s report excludes Planned Parenthood abortion facilities, a number of which also closed or stopped aborting unborn babies. According to the report, Planned Parenthood does about 41 % of abortions in the U.S. while independent abortion facilities perform about 55 %. The remaining 4 % are done in hospitals or doctors’ offices.
In 2012, ACN identified 510 independent abortion clinics in the U.S. As of November, that list has decreased to 434 clinics, 333 of which are housed in buildings while 101 are online-only clinics.
In 31 states and Washington, D.C., chemical abortions are now facilitated via telemedicine following the Federal Drug Administration’s approval last year of abortion pill distribution via the mail. Nineteen states have banned the virtual provision of abortion, including telemedicine.
Interestingly, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Mississippi abortion provider at the center of the U.S. Supreme Court case, was an independently owned abortion clinic before it was forced to closed its doors.
In the first two months immediately following the Supreme Court ruling, the number of legal abortions in the U.S. fell 6%, according to the Society of Family Planning, an abortion and contraceptive advocacy and research group.
As more abortion providers shutter their clinics, pro-life advocates are working to expand support services for pregnant and parenting families. Pregnancy centers are expanding and new maternity homes are opening to serve mothers and babies in need. Other pro-life organizations also offer financial aid, scholarships and other assistance, and a Catholic university in Wisconsin is even building a new dormitory, daycare center and other resources designed for single mothers.
Photo: Dzmitry Kliapitski/Alamy Stock Photo