Abortion access in the U.S. has been vanishing at the fastest annual pace on record, propelled by Republican state lawmakers’ push to legislate the industry out of existence. Since 2011, at least 162 abortion providers have shut or stopped offering the procedure, while just 21 opened.
At no time since before 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion, has a woman’s ability to terminate a pregnancy been more dependent on her zip code or financial resources to travel. The drop-off in providers—more than one every two weeks—occurred in 35 states, in both small towns and big cities that are home to more than 30 million women of reproductive age.
No region was exempt, though some states lost more than others. Texas, which in 2013 passed sweeping clinic regulations that are under scrutiny by the Supreme Court, saw the most: at least 30. It was followed by Iowa, with 14, and Michigan, with 13. California’s loss of a dozen providers shows how availability declined, even in states led by Democrats, who tend to be friendly to abortion rights.
Stand-alone clinics, not doctors’ offices or hospitals, perform the vast majority of pregnancy terminations. They account for the vast majority of the tally, which was compiled by Bloomberg News over the past three months and builds on a similar undertaking from 2013.
Typically defined by medical researchers as facilities that perform 400 or more abortions per year, the ranks peaked in the late 1980s at 705, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based reproductive-health research organization. By 2011, the most recent year for which Guttmacher has data, that number had fallen to 553.
SOURCE: Esmé E Deprez