In 2019, Alabama passed the nation’s strictest anti-abortion prohibition into law, offering no exceptions beyond a pregnancy that threatens the mother’s life.
Immediately after Gov. Kay Ivey (R-AL) signed the bill, U.S. Middle District of Alabama Judge Myron Thompson ruled the law could not go into effect based on Supreme Court precedents that forbid bans before fetal viability. However, following the release of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, Thompson lifted the injunction, and the ban is now law.
A San Francisco-based pro-abortion activist group, known as PRROWESS, or Protecting Reproductive Rights of Women Endangered by State Statutes, seeks to offer an end-around Alabama state law and other nearby states with abortion bans by offering election abortion services offshore in the Gulf of Mexico in international waters.
PRROWESS’s Dr. Meg Autry, an abortion provider in San Francisco who describes the procedure as her “life’s work,” told NBC Bay Area she seeks to raise about $20 million for a floating abortion clinic.
“Those in the most southern parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas may be closer to the coast than to facilities in bordering states where abortion and reproductive health care are available, PRROWESS’s website says about the effort. “The clinic will be able to offer services such as contraception and point of care STI testing that may not be offered at the closest land facilities.”
Autry told NBC Bay Area that she anticipated a legal challenge from states that have banned or limited abortions but insists her effort will prove lawful.
“We have a very powerful legal team,” Autry added. “I’m sure there will be legal barriers and problems at every part of this journey.”
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