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A California doctor proposes a floating abortion clinic in the Gulf of Mexico, 9 miles off the Texas coast

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — A California doctor is proposing a floating abortion clinic in the Gulf of Mexico to maintain access for people in southern states that have enacted abortion bans.

The idea is to provide a shipboard clinic in federal waters and out of the reach of state laws that would offer first-trimester surgical abortions, contraception and other care, said Dr. Meg Autry, obstetrician-gynecologist and professor at the University of California, San Francisco.

The clinic would be nine miles off the Texas coast.

“There has been an attack on reproductive rights in our country and I have been a lifelong advocate for reproductive health and choice. We have to create options and be thoughtful and creative to help people in restrictive states get the health care they deserve,” she told The Associated Press.

Autry said the idea is only in the fundraising phase through the nonprofit organization PRROWESS — short for Protecting Reproductive Rights Of Women Endangered by State Statutes.

The proposal comes as access to abortion was quickly restricted in the southern United States after the US Supreme Court referred the abortion issue back to the states.

Abortion bans have gone into effect in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. A Florida law that has prevailed after legal back and forth prohibits abortions after 15 weeks except when the procedure is necessary to save life, prevent serious injury, or when the fetus has a fatal abnormality.

Autry said her legal team believes there is a swath of federal water where licensed providers could safely and legally perform abortions outside the reach of state law. For women in Southern states with abortion bans, going to the coast and boarding a boat might be closer and easier than trying to travel to a state where abortion remains legal, she said.

“This is closer and quicker access for some people, especially working people who live in the southernmost part of these states,” she said.

Autry said they are still trying to work out many details, such as where the boat will start and how women would get to the ship.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc13.com/floating-abortion-of-clinic-gulf-mexico-texas-bans-states-that-ban-abortions-2022/12042783/ A California doctor proposes a floating abortion clinic in the Gulf of Mexico, 9 miles off the Texas coast

Dais Johnston

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