Jul 12, 2022 - News

Doctor proposes abortion boat clinic on the Gulf of Mexico

Illustration of an anchor made out of a caduceus.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Residents of southern states with abortion bans could potentially seek out the procedure on the high seas.

Driving the news: A California doctor recently outlined her idea for a floating abortion clinic in the Gulf of Mexico as an option to maintain access for people who would be pressed to travel long distances to receive treatment.

Details: Meg Autry's proposed ship, PRROWESS (Protecting Reproductive Rights of Women Endangered by State Statutes), would offer first-trimester surgical abortions, contraception and other care while out of reach of state laws.

  • She's looking to raise $20 million to fund the boat clinic.

Flashback: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas have all banned abortions since the repeal of Roe v. Wade last month. Getting to a boat in the Gulf may be easier than traveling to another state that allows the procedure.

  • Abortions are banned in Florida after 15 weeks, except if the pregnancy endangers the patient's life.

What they're saying: "Part of the reason we're working on this project so hard is because wealthy people in our country are always going to have access (to abortions), so once again it's a time now where poor, people of color, marginalized individuals, are going to suffer – and by suffering I mean like lives lost," Autry told NBC Bay Area.

Point of intrigue: This wouldn't be the first abortion boat to set sail. Dutch nonprofit Women on Waves, sails to countries where abortion is illegal, like Poland and Ecuador, at the invitation of local women's organizations.

  • Dutch laws are in effect on the ship, where early medical abortions have been provided, according to the organization.

Of note: While the organization has been receiving U.S. requests, its founder Rebecca Gomperts told Dutch network EenVandaag the ship plans to stay put for now.

  • Gomperts said they're examining whether it "makes sense" to sail to the U.S., as well as "where and when."

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