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Obstacles in Abortion Access Post Roe v. Wade Overturn: An Overview

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Ayanna Amadi
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Obstacles in Abortion Access Post Roe v. Wade Overturn: An Overview

Obstacles in Abortion Access Post Roe v. Wade Overturn: An Overview

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Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, a significant increase in obstacles to abortion access has been observed. These hurdles have resulted in prolonged waiting times, making abortions more complicated, expensive, and in some instances riskier, particularly as pregnancies progress. Roughly half of the U.S. states now enforce laws that ban or limit abortion access, creating a surge in the demand for appointments at the remaining providers.

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The Impact of Increased Wait Times

Increased wait times have become a significant concern. According to the Washington Post, some women had to endure waiting lists for up to seven weeks. Challenges such as planning and paying for travel, taking time off work, and finding child care have also arisen. Consequently, some people may miss the window for medication abortions, and the costs for the procedure increase as the pregnancy progresses.

Decrease in Available Abortion Clinics

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At least 66 clinics in 15 states ceased providing abortions in the 100 days following the Roe v. Wade overturn. This necessitates people to travel out of state, thereby exacerbating abortion delays. The Myers Abortion Appointment Availability Survey found that 11 states had median appointment wait times of more than five business days, and four states had waits of at least eight business days.

Rise in Second-Trimester Abortions

The impact of these delays is evident in the rise of second-trimester abortions. The latest statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that about 7% of abortions took place at 14 weeks or later. Several providers have seen an increase in the number of patients getting abortions at 14 weeks or later.

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Legal Challenges and Confusion

Legal restrictions and confusion, particularly in states like Washington and Texas, have further compounded the issue. For instance, Texas temporarily blocked a pregnant woman from obtaining an emergency abortion, as reported by Reuters. Similarly, a woman in Kentucky filed a lawsuit seeking the right to an abortion, challenging the state's near-total prohibition of abortion. The legal battles in these states exemplify the dire state of abortion access in the country.

The Impact of Data-Sharing Systems on Abortion Access

Besides access to actual abortion clinics, there are also concerns about data-sharing systems affecting abortion access and patient privacy. According to STAT News, reproductive health advocates are worried about potential confidentiality breaches due to automated electronic health records (EHRs) and health information exchanges (HIEs). These breaches can lead to patients' abortions being disclosed to small-town primary care providers, leading to fears of mistreatment and a lack of confidentiality.

The overturning of Roe v. Wade has undeniably affected abortion access in the United States, leading to increased wait times, decreased availability of clinics, and legal challenges. It's clear that more needs to be done to ensure timely and accessible healthcare, including abortions, for all.

Electronic Health Records Health Advocates
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