A California doctor is planning to launch a floating abortion clinic in the Gulf of Mexico to sidestep state laws banning the procedure, in the wake of the United States Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
The Bay Area OB-GYN will be unconstrained by state laws regulating abortions, as the ship will sit in its berth in federal waters, which begin nine nautical miles from the coast of Texas, and three nautical miles off the costs of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.
Dr. Meg Autry will offer first trimester abortions, contraception, and other services.
“There’s been an assault on reproductive rights in our country and I’m a lifelong advocate for reproductive health and choice,” she told the Associated Press. “We have to create options and be thoughtful and creative to help people in restrictive states get the health care they deserve.”
Autry’s team of attorneys assert that licensed abortion providers operating in federal waters will be out of reach of any state law seeking to ban abortions.
“It is just phenomenally difficult to get to an access state, even if it’s paid for,” Autry told KCBS Radio. “Not only is this an innovative, different idea for surgical terminations, but it’s also closer, and more accessible and quicker than other options.”
Her group has launched a crowd-funding effort to raise $20 million to purchase and retrofit a ship. The money will also cover security, liability insurance, and patient care. The group has already consulted with a team of security experts that have a specialty working in the water.
The ship will be called “PRROWESS” which stands for “Protecting Reproductive Rights of Women Endangered by State Statues.”
All states surrounding the Gulf of Mexico have had some type of abortion ban already go into effect since the overturning of Roe v. Wade. A floating abortion clinic in the Gulf would be a shorter journey than traveling to a blue state for some women.
“I’m a lifelong educator, and abortion and reproductive rights advocate,” Autry said to KCBS. “And I strongly, strongly believe in equitable health care, and so this has just kind of been my life’s work.”