Alabama post Roe
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Kelby Hutchison
After the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, health clinics in Alabama that previously offered abortions have had to adapt to abide by new state laws that prohibit most abortions. In light of these events these clinics have shifted toward new ways to help their patients with their reproductive health.
“We know that having a total ban on abortion in that state creates an undue burden on pregnant persons seeking care who are now going to be placed in an impossible situation where they are either forced to remain pregnant or flee their state or seek care outside of the healthcare system,” said Planned Parenthood Southeast Communications and Marketing Director Lauren Frazier.
Planned Parenthood locations had stopped providing abortion services a few months prior to the ruling according to Frazier. She said that the call center for the Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi have seen an increase in calls for information on birth control, vasectomies and tubal ligations in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancies since the decision.
“These laws are often so poorly written and vague that this is what results in continued litigation and a waste of taxpayer dollars trying to really understand the legalities surrounding these laws,” said Frazier.
Frazier says Planned Parenthood is focused on patient education at the moment and working on navigating the new state laws to support pregnant Alabamians.
Another provider for abortion prior to the overturning of Roe v. Wade was the West Alabama Women’s Center (WAWC). After the decision the WAWC is approaching the situation with an optimistic outlook.
“We are trying to see this moment as our opportunity to finally bring in all the other programs that we’d wanted to add but hadn’t been able to for so long because abortion had been such a large portion of what we were doing,” said WAWC Operations Director Robin Marty.
Marty says that in Alabama and Mississippi 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned. She says that if people have better access to contraception there will be fewer people who seek abortions. WAWC has started new contraceptive programs and has recently been approved to provide care for medicaid patients.
Marty said that the clinic will continue to help those that are pregnant and are experiencing bleeding and need to see a doctor to make sure their pregnancy is still healthy. This is due to precedents set in other countries that have outlawed abortions.
“One thing that we know from other countries that have banned abortion is that when abortion is criminalized, then people who have unhealthy pregnancies and threatened miscarriages can be suspected of having tried to end their own pregnancy,” said Marty.
Marty said that the WAWC is still receiving phone calls wondering if the clinic can make an exception for them.
“That goes to show exactly how far a person will go if they truly want to terminate a pregnancy. Because they don’t care if it’s illegal. They still want to have it done if they can find somebody who’s willing to do that,” said Marty.
Marty said that the WACW can’t provide details where to receive abortion services either according to statements made by Alabama’s attorney general after the Supreme Court’s decision. She said if they were to provide this information to patients the WAWC could possibly be charged with a conspiracy.
The WAWC is now seeing a trend of patients seeking out long-term birth control methods such as IUD’s and implants.
“People want something now that is very effective and that is long term and that nobody can take away later because in all honesty they’re terrified that birth control is going to be the next thing that gets banned,” said Marty.
This could be due to statements made by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas after the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Thomas stated that the Supreme Court should look to reevaluate the constitutionality of Griswold v. Connecticut in which the Supreme Court upheld the right of married couples to obtain contraceptives.
“The truth is the people that we’re helping are in the most marginalized communities in Alabama. For the most part they are primarily Black, they’re mostly in poverty, these are people who are far more likely to be policed, far more likely to be surveilled, far more likely to have lawmakers use their discretion to decide to give them tickets or investigate them.”