According to a report from the Abortion Care Network reported by CBS News, nearly a third of independent abortion providers in the United States have either closed or stopped terminating pregnancies in the past five years.
The reason is new state regulations. Abortion providers say they can’t keep up with the cost of compliance.
“Anti-abortion politicians have long used onerous restrictions to try and shut down independent abortion providers,” said Nikki Madsen, the Abortion Care Network’s executive director. The organization represents independent clinics not affiliated with abortion giant Planned Parenthood. “Since 2010, anti-abortion politicians have passed more than 400 laws that attempt to make it too expensive or logistically impossible for abortion clinics to operate.”
About a quarter of all abortion providers in the United States are independent, but they serve three out of every five women wanting the procedure, the report says. Planned Parenthood provided about 37 percent of abortions in the country; private physicians’ offices accounted for 3 percent and hospitals 1 percent, the report says.
Independent clinics are particularly important for terminations later in pregnancy. The facilities performed 94 percent of abortions occurring at or after the 22nd week of pregnancy, according to the Abortion Care Network. Just under 90 percent of all abortions are first-trimester.
Since 2014, 136 independent abortion clinics have closed, sinking the nationwide number to 344 as of November, according to the Abortion Care Network’s 2019 “Communities Need Clinics” report published last week. The same time period has seen a “handful” of clinic openings.
Often independent clinics will serve areas where abortion access is limited. Of the six states with one provider, four are served by independent clinics: Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota and West Virginia. In four states — Arkansas, Nevada, Oklahoma and Georgia — independent providers are the only options for people seeking abortion after 10 or 11 weeks of pregnancy. In Louisiana, where an upcoming Supreme Court case could entirely eliminate abortion access, all three remaining providers are independent.