At abortion clinics, new laws sow confusion, uncertainty
HUNTSVILLE, AlaBAMA (AP):
Abortion clinics are facing protesters emboldened by a flurry of restrictive new state laws as they reassure confused patients that the laws have yet to take effect, abortion providers said.
“We have actually had many people calling and say, ‘Are you open? Are you still seeing patients? Is abortion now illegal? Will something happen to me if I come for care?’” said Dr Willie Parker, one of two doctors providing abortions at the Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville, recently.
Earlier last week, Alabama enacted the nation’s strictest abortion law, making performing abortions a felony at any stage of pregnancy with almost no exceptions.
Women who came through the doors held hands with loved ones or curled into chairs as they waited. A television set to a cable news channel aired a segment about Alabama’s abortion law.
SHORTAGE OF CLINICS
It is one of only three abortion clinics in the state and the only one that provides abortions when a woman is up to 20 weeks pregnant. Some patients drove from Mississippi and other neighbouring states because of a shortage of clinics.
“Our doors are open, and we continue to be here for women in our communities, and we intend to keep it that way,” said Dr Yashica Robinson, an obstetrician and gynaecologist who provides abortions at the clinic.
Thank you notes from patients, sent on cards or written on yellow and blue sticky notes, dot a bulletin board in the clinic.
“I was so scared on this journey in the Bible Belt, and you put me at ease with no judgment,” one read.
Georgia , Kentucky , Mississippi and Ohio have passed laws that prohibit abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected – at about six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant. Missouri and Louisiana are close to enacting similar bans.