How To Access Abortion Healthcare in Florida, Texas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma
As many of us know, restrictive anti-abortion legislature has continued to rear its hideous, hateful head in the recent past. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that would ban almost all abortions after fifteen weeks. The near total abortion ban makes no exceptions for victims of incest, sexual assault, or human trafficking, but does make an exception for situations that could seriously injure or endanger the life of a pregnant person. Fetal abnormalities detected after 15 weeks can also result in the legal termination of a pregnancy — as long as two doctors sign a document declaring that the baby was sure to die shortly after birth. Unfortunately, Florida does not stand alone.
This new Florida law emulates a Mississippi law which also bans abortions after fifteen weeks. Additionally, Mississippi is taking its anti-abortion campaign to the supreme court, threatening to jeopardize all the freedoms that Roe v. Wade put in place in 1973.
Roe v. Wade respected a woman’s right to have an abortion up until about the 24-week mark, which is around the time that the fully formed fetus would be able to live outside the womb. While states like Florida and Mississippi are attempting to narrow that window of time, Texas legislature has gone even further, banning abortions as soon as the fetus has a heartbeat under Senate Bill 8.
Oklahoma, however, may be reaching the apex of bigotry, as Governor Kevin Stitt voiced his desire to have Oklahoma be “the most pro-life state” in the union. As of April 12, a near total abortion ban was signed into law, rendering all abortions illegal with the exception of medical emergencies.
The bitter truth is that for many people in these states, anti-abortion laws don’t dissuade as much as pose a new obstacle: traveling to a state where abortion is still legal.
However, all is not lost. Pro-right organizations like Planned Parenthood are fighting back. If you or someone you know needs access to abortion healthcare in any of these states, read on.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, there are 85 facilities that promote abortion healthcare in Florida, with 65 of them being clinics. Among those 65, 11 are Planned Parenthood. Although there are requirements already in place ahead of the July 1 enactment of the abortion ban, such as 24-hour respites between pre-abortion appointments, Planned Parenthood still facilitates everything from birth control to counseling to abortion services. Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida offers the option of telehealth consolations, accepts a variety of insurance plans, and provides financial assistance for those who qualify. Go to https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-south-east-north-florida for more information.
In Mississippi, the number of abortion healthcare facilities are disproportionately skewed to reflect the state’s extremely conservative, Bible-thumping history. Only one clinic remains: the Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Its doctors and representatives have fought tirelessly for decades to keep the doors open, as protestors continuously vandalized the pink building and threatened medical professionals. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization facilitates abortions up until the 16 week mark and a 24-hour period between consolations and abortions is also required. For more information, visit their website: https://jacksonwomenshealth.com/
If traveling out of state is an option for you, there are four abortion clinics in neighboring Louisiana, two of them being Planned Parenthood, and eight in Tennessee, with four being Planned Parenthood.
Although Oklahoma may be currently leading the stampede against abortion rights, there are still six facilities that promote abortion healthcare, with two of them being Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood Great Plains offers abortion services in Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas. To stay on the pulse of abortion access in Oklahoma, visit https://www.plannedparenthood.org/planned-parenthood-great-plains for more information.
If traveling out of state is an option for you, neighboring Colorado boasts one of the most lax abortion policies in the country as evidenced by their 23 Planned Parenthood clinics.
In regard to Texas, the state believed by many to have set the current precedent, about 20 abortion clinics still remained operational as of 2017. Of course, that number is shrinking and so is the window of time during which abortions are legally viable. Texas clinics have experienced a 60% decline in abortions, likely due to the mass exodus of people seeking to terminate their pregnancies in other states. Both the Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas and the Planned Parenthood South Texas are working diligently to ensure there is some light during these dark and uncertain times for reproductive rights.