There are five in Alabama. There are three in South Carolina. There is one in Mississippi. The number of abortion clinics, especially in the South, is dwindling. Clinics are quickly being shut down as new legislation that targets these facilities continues to pass.
I had known that abortion clinics and women’s rights to reproductive health were once again under attack in the United States. However, until doing research for the Feminist Majority Foundation, I hadn’t realized just how devastatingly few clinics remained in some areas of the country.
Imagine living in Mississippi. The only clinic left in the state is in Jackson and is constantly under attack, whether it’s by the protesters outside or someone physically decimating the building. There are currently about 1.5 million women living in the state of Mississippi. Having just one clinic, located in the state’s capital, removes the option of having an abortion from women in other parts of the state, especially rural women.
As of this year alone, there have been hundreds of new bills restricting access to reproductive health. Particularly damaging legislation has recently been passed in Texas, which requires abortion clinics to meet hospital-like standards, or “ambulatory surgical centers (ASC)” standards. Only seven clinics in Texas currently meet these standards. Thirteen clinics are estimated to close.
Perhaps most disheartening was my research on areas that affect my own access to receiving the reproductive care that I could potentially need. I grew up in North Carolina. Since I lived in a city, the area I lived in has easy access to several clinics. However, legislation continues to be put into place to complicate such a decision.
As of this past month, North Carolina lawmakers have passed a bill that requires women to wait 72 hours before receiving abortion care. This law tripled the previous wait time, becoming one out of five states to demand a 72-hour waiting period.
I also go to school in Ithaca, New York. As I continued to do research on clinics in the Upstate area, I realized there was only one near to my college campus. Instead, there was a multitude of Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), which usually attempt to talk women out of going through an abortion procedure through shaming methods.
Researching clinics nationally gave me a more comprehensive perspective on the attack on women’s reproductive health. However, researching clinics in your own area and understanding regulations and law regarding abortion services in your state can make you a better reproductive justice advocate. Feminist Campus works with students to adopt a local clinic through their Adopt-A-Clinic program. Become informed, become aware, but, most importantly; take action within your community.