A California OB-GYN is working to move her services to the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Meg Autry said her goal is to protect the reproductive rights of women.
The Protecting Reproductive Rights of Women Endangered by State Statutes (PRROWESS) initiative would be located in federal waters just nine miles from the coast of Texas and three miles from the coast of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. While a boat has yet to be purchased, Autry said the full scope of reproductive services including abortion would be performed.
“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, so once again it’s a time now where poor, people of color, marginalized individuals, are gonna suffer –and by suffering I mean like lives lost,” Autry told local news station KNTV. By operating in federal waters, abortions would not be subject to state laws of Texas, Louisiana, or Mississippi.
Autry said the initiative has been in the works for years, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturning of Roe v. Wade accelerated the project. Patients seeking care on the “floating clinic” would pay little to no cost. Autry said PRROWESS is legal, but she does anticipate Gulf States hitting back legally.
A vessel for a project of this type could cost up to $20 million. There is also the cost of retrofitting a boat for medical care, supplies, and staffing the clinic. Autry said funding is being sought after, but donations are essential.
This week, Mississippi’s last abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, closed its doors after the state’s trigger law went into effect. The clinic now has plans to relocate to New Mexico. An attempt to perform an abortion in Mississippi would result in a felony charge, a fine of up to $100,000, and a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Similarly, in Louisiana abortions are only allowed in the case of ectopic pregnancies, or if the fetus has life-threatening deformities. Performing an abortion under any other circumstance is punishable with a sentence of either 10 or 15 years depending on gestational age.
In Alabama, abortions can only be performed if the mother’s life is at risk. There is no exception for incest or rape. Prior to Roe v. Wade being overturned, the state allowed abortions to be performed weeks into the second trimester.