Tara Culp-Ressler at Think Progress: Women Are Increasingly Being Forced to Cross State Lines to Get an Abortion.
"There are just larger hurdles to tackle in order to be able to gain access," [Diane Silas, the administrator for Hagerstown Reproductive Health Services in Maryland] explained. "As long as there [are clinics], you could make the argument that there is access, but the question is, how Herculean of an effort does one have to put forth in order to gain that access?"There is more, much more, at the link.
Over the past several years, anti-choice lawmakers have attempted to ensure that women must indeed put forth that type of Herculean effort to exercise their reproductive rights. Since 2011, states have enacted record-breaking numbers of new abortion restrictions. The state-level laws are designed to make women drive farther to get to a clinic, require women to make multiple trips to a clinic, force women to pay higher prices for abortion, and ultimately convince women that ending a pregnancy isn't in their best interest.
...Texas recently enacted harsh restrictions on abortion providers that will force 90 percent of the state's clinics to shut down; in response, the Dallas Observer published a tongue-and-cheek "travel guide" for women in the state who may need to go elsewhere to obtain reproductive care. But the outlook is bleak. "When we look at the states surrounding Texas — you know, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana — there are not that many providers in any of them," Elizabeth Nash, the state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, pointed out. Reproductive rights activists actually suspect that Texas women will cross the border into Mexico to obtain abortion-inducing drugs on the black market.
Similar situations are unfolding in other states. ...Abortion access in many red states may now be worse than it was in the 1960s, before the procedure was legalized under Roe v. Wade.
I don't know if I will ever find the words to fully express my feelings about my particular (though hardly unique) trajectory of activism around this issue: Of sending up flags for nearly a decade that Roe was being hollowed out on the state level; of being incessantly berated during the 2008 primary and election by male progressives every time I raised even the most modest concern about President Obama's commitment to defending reproductive rights; of being told, over and over, by men who only care about Roe as a bargaining chip, and not as a fundamental right of women et. al., that if I don't vote for Democrats, I am anti-choice; of pointing to anti-choicers' naked strategy of rendering Roe an empty statute; of begging for men's involvement in the reproductive rights struggle beyond hectoring female activists who question Democratic politicians' interest in Roe beyond its use as a political football; of petitioning the President to use his bully pulpit to condemn a national onslaught in state legislatures against access to abortion; of watching our rights slip away, and knowing that, even now, there are progressive men waiting to wield Roe against me like a weapon at any hint of a suggestion I might use my vote (mine) in some way other than on behalf of a Democratic Party whose national candidates promise to protect Roe while maintaining steadfast silence as it is gutted, because people who will never vote for them anyway will object if they say they word "abortion" aloud.
I am exhausted of this fight, from every direction. I am burned out like a twice-used match. I am tired of being told that this is a game by people whose privilege insulates them from the harm every lost inch yields. I am tired of fighting with people who say that women who live in red states deserve what we get. I am tired of shouting, while my President keeps quiet. I am tired of fearing what will happen to me if I become pregnant. I am so tired.