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The Supreme Court’s ruling to abolish the constitutional right to abortion has sparked a human rights crisis across the country.
Twenty-four states have banned abortion or are likely to do so. Clinics in nearby states have overwhelming demand for appointments. Most of the patients I care for at the Trust Women’s clinic in Kansas describe multiple phone calls and weeks of waiting for appointments. a few months ago Our clinic receives over 16,000 calls for appointments within a day.
The ban has created an atmosphere of chaos and fear. With millions of people unsure of what is legal in their home state.
As the new day reveals the increasingly troubling consequences of severing those who have relied on it for 50 years, a new threat looms. Anti-abortion groups have sued the FDA for seeking to ban safe and effective drugs used for medical abortions. It is a move that could exacerbate our crisis of access to abortion.
group suing in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. FDA wants the agency to withdraw its approval for mifepristone It is one of the drugs used in the most commonly used medical abortion protocol in the United States.
Mifepristone has been on the market for over 20 years with an outstanding track record of safety and effectiveness. and the countless research studies that support it. This challenge of mifepristone has no credible scientific or legal justification. This is a transparent attempt to make abortion difficult or impossible for people to access. It handed over to Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a conservative federal judge in northern Texas with a history of discriminating against reproductive rights. within a few days This judge can block access to more than half of the abortion pills in the United States. Even in states that have committed to supporting access to abortion.
Recently, a patient came to my clinic asking for a medical abortion. She left her shift in east Texas at 6 p.m. and drove 11 hours through the night to reach a clinic in Wichita. Kansas in the morning after receiving the drug Mifepristone and Misoprostol She drove back that day. All this to reduce the cost of leaving work, living away from home and paying child care.
If Mifepristone is banned She was also able to have a medical abortion using only misoprostol. Although safe and commonly used in other countries But this system punishes those who attempt abortions with a greater burden—a burden that may be impossible for people to overcome. Using misoprostol alone (no mifepristone) resulting in cramps and bleeding shortly thereafter. People leaving the state may have to endure this process while driving or flying home. Or are more likely to stay in the state where they need care longer. Billing for food, accommodation, childcare, and lost wages for when they are not working
There are reliable sources for taking mifepristone online. And people can safely take pills and manage their own abortions. while only three states explicitly ban in-person abortions. But law enforcement abuses other laws to try to prosecute people. And health care providers reported that there were patients who needed follow-up care.
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Another option is to have an abortion in the clinic. But the clinic has overwhelming demand and there is a long waiting list for those seeking the procedure. Adding up all patients who opt for medical abortion would cripple these clinics. Abortion is a time-sensitive service. With Mifepristone off the market, more people will not need it.
Low-income people and people of color face structural barriers. are often the most affected. They will have a harder time navigating the increasing care barriers. They are more likely to be targeted by the criminal system if they perform an abortion themselves. We know that not having an abortion when you want has profound financial and psychological implications.
Every ban on abortion hurts the autonomy of the people. Everyone deserves to have an abortion the way they want. without obstacles or stigma Regardless of the outcome of the FDA lawsuit. It is clear that the anti-abortion movement will never stop attacking access to abortion where we still have it.
In short, we need to make sure people have the information and resources they need. and support groups that provide them with a safety net. Sites like I Need an A have up-to-date information on where people can get an abortion. The Abortion Fund is working bravely to help people with their journeys and cover their expenses. There are resources such as the Repro Legal Helpline for patients who are concerned about legal risks.
We must fight for a future where abortion justice is real. In addition to inadequate protection Roe v. Wade give us
As I sat down with a patient from East Texas to consult and prescribe these medications, I saw a surplus—she drove over 11 hours, more than one of the 16,000 people who called to make an appointment. I see someone who is dedicated to the well-being of her children, to keep her job, to provide financial security for her family. And to protect her own health, I see a person using their right to self-government to achieve their goals in life.
Protecting access to these safe and effective drugs and removing other obstacles all in abortion care It is essential for countless people. Families and communities who depend on these drugs
Dr. Jennifer Kearns is an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics. Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco and a physician at Trust Women in Wichita, Kansas.
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