© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Anti-abortion rights protesters hold placards as they demonstrate after the US Supreme Court ruled in the Dobbs v Women’s Health Organization abortion case, overturning Roe’s abortion decision. v Wade landmark in Los Angeles, California, USA, Ju
By Sharon Bernstein and Gabriella Borter
(Reuters) – Jennifer Kerns, a doctor in California, will soon also practice 1,800 miles away at an abortion clinic in Kansas, where women from neighboring Midwestern states are expected to turn to. take care of.
Abortion clinics and providers say Kerns is among dozens of doctors who have recently sought new medical licenses in states where abortions may still be legal, predicting a dramatic decision Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court turning point ends the recognition of women’s right to terminate a pregnancy.
“We feel this is part of our responsibility – to provide services where they do,” says Kerns, a surgeon who teaches and practices at the University of California, San Francisco, medical school. the need. She plans to fly to Wichita, Kansas, when her schedule allows.
The addition of out-of-state doctors is just one of several measures taken by abortion clinics in the face of an uncertain landscape in which access to abortion will be decided by individual states, threatening to make some clinics go out of business and strain the rest of the clinics with more patients.
In some cases, clinics are moving to neighboring states to protect abortion rights. Others are developing legal strategies to combat the restrictions and help people figure out how to get an abortion in different states. And at clinics in states like California, where women can come for the procedure, preparations are underway to add more services and staff.
More than half of the states in the country could soon have laws banning or severely restricting abortion following Friday’s ruling. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that advocates for abortion rights, 13 states already have so-called trigger laws or abortion bans that quickly go into effect after federal protections are removed.
In North Dakota, which has a trigger law, Tammi Kromenaker is scrambling to open a new abortion facility across the border in Minnesota. Kromenaker, who has run North Dakota’s only abortion clinic, the Red River Clinic, for 24 years, said two of the clinic’s doctors are licensed in Minnesota, and a third is doing it. getting a license there.
“We’re committed to taking this care, but we don’t have to bend ourselves, twist ourselves into different shapes, and meet all these different challenges this way,” says Kromenaker.
In other states with activation laws, clinics are in the process of pausing abortions. Even before Roe’s decision, a statewide ban in Oklahoma forced clinics to stop appointments for the procedure.
Clinics run by Planned Parenthood in Utah, another state that triggered the law, said they would stay open for as long as possible, hoping to use the legal system to delay or overturn bans that doctors legislators passed.
Attorneys representing abortion providers are banding together around a plan to argue that privacy and constitutional rights are equally protected in many states that protect abortion without do not say so clearly.
Wellspring Health Access President Julie Burkhart, who plans to open a clinic in conservative Wyoming, said: “We don’t intend to say right away that this is the end of the road,” said Wellspring president. Health Access, which plans to open a clinic in conservative Wyoming, says the state constitution emphasizes liberties that protect abortion rights.
The strategy is to establish wherever possible that abortion is a state right, said Cary Franklin, department director of the Center for Reproductive Health, Law and Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. even when the Supreme Court has ruled that it is not a federal right.
The legal strategy has been tested in Pennsylvania, where the Women’s Bill is arguing in court that the state’s constitution protects abortion rights, even as conservative lawmakers support an amendment to ban it. , director of policy and advocacy Amal Bass said.
In Kansas, where the state’s supreme court has ruled abortion rights in its constitution, advocates argue that even if a proposed new amendment banning abortion is passed by voters in August, they have about a year to block restrictions through legal challenge.
Kerns’ new Kansas license is her second in less than a year. She was previously licensed in Oklahoma, providing abortions to women fleeing restrictive regulations in neighboring Texas until Oklahoma enacted a ban last month.
And if Kansas also banned abortion?
“All of those people would have to go to Colorado or New Mexico,” she said. “I will be licensed in those states.”