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Press release: New Report Underscores the Importance of Independent Abortion Clinics in a Post-Dobbs Landscape
Abortion Care Network released its annual “Communities Need Clinics” report with data demonstrating the critical role independent clinics play in ensuring access to care
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Abortion Care Network released its seventh annual Communities Need Clinics report highlighting new data on independent abortion care providers and the damage done to abortion access since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The report explores a post-Roe landscape of abortion care in which 65 independent clinics have been forced to close or stop offering abortions and 14 states are without a single abortion clinic.
Abortion bans, extremist harassment, and the financial realities of operating community-based clinics make it increasingly difficult for independent clinics to stay open. Despite these challenges, indies are often the last line of defense, providing care when and where others do not, helping people navigate an increasingly confusing and sparse landscape of care, and challenging abortion bans in the courts.
Key findings in the report;
- Independent abortion clinics provide the majority of abortion care nationwide.
- Entire regions depend on indies for abortion care: 60% of clinics in hostile states are independent.
- Fourteen states have abortion bans sweeping enough to force all the clinics in those states to close or stop providing abortions
- Abortion bans have disproportionate regional impacts: 75% of the indie clinics forced to close or stop providing abortions in 2022 – 2023 were in the south or midwest U.S.
- Access to abortion throughout pregnancy and later abortion depends on indies. Of the facilities that provide care after the earliest stages of pregnancy, indies make up:
- 61% of clinics providing care after the first trimester
- 100% of clinics providing care after 26 weeks
- Independent clinics are leading the way in health care innovation: 100% of online-only clinics are independent (alongside the 346 brick-and-mortar indies in the U.S.).
- Despite working with fewer resources, independent clinics are more likely to offer more comprehensive abortion options: 73% of indie brick-and-mortar clinics offer both medical and surgical abortion (compared to 42% of Planned Parenthood affiliates).
The Communities Need Clinics report provides context for the current landscape of abortion care in the U.S., outlines the many ways in which indie clinics show up for their communities, and highlights the undeniable support communities have shown for clinics and abortion access.
The full report is available here; any of the quotes below may be used in coverage of the report.
“States that restrict abortion access also have some of the worst reproductive health outcomes – and yet, despite these overlapping conditions and political hostilities, communities have made themselves clear: in every state where abortion was on the ballot, voters showed up to defend access to abortion. ACN’s Communities Need Clinics report demonstrates how, even in the most politically hostile states, abortion access is popular, and people trust their community caregivers, independent clinics, and their neighbors and friends to make the decisions that are best for them.” –Erin Grant (they/ them), Co-Executive Director, Abortion Care Network
“Our findings in Communities Need Clinics are unequivocal: in a rapidly changing landscape of abortion care, independent clinics lead the way, collectively providing the majority of abortions in the United States. These clinics are centers of care in their communities: they innovate, adapt, and take risks to provide care in the face of abortion bans, harassment, and systemic inequities. Yet these clinics remain chronically under-resourced – supporting independent clinics helps our communities get the care they need when and where they need it.” –Nikki Madsen (she/ her), Co-Executive Director, Abortion Care Network
“When abortion was banned in Alabama, we understood that our community needed us MORE now, not less. Just as independent clinics were the vast majority of abortion providers in Alabama prior to Dobbs, we are staying here despite the strictest ban in the nation – providing follow-up care to those who leave the state or self-manage at home, as well as prenatal, contraceptive and gender-affirming healthcare services, too. And when we eventually win back the right to an abortion – and someday we will do just that – we will be here, ready to offer that, too, at the very moment it is legally allowed.” –Robin Marty, Executive Director, West Alabama Women’s Center
“When Roe v Wade was overturned in 2022, there were several deeply red, politically hostile states where independent clinics were the sole abortion provider remaining – including Women’s Health Center of West Virginia. Indie clinics like ours were the ones who stayed when the writing was on the wall. We brought litigation to challenge trigger laws and abortion bans in our states and secured injunctions allowing us to continue abortion care – even if only briefly – after Dobbs. We are the ones who fought until the bitter end, and whether or not we’re able to provide abortion care right now, many indies have remained firmly rooted in their communities, providing whatever care we can to all who need us.” – Katie Quinonez-Alonzo, Executive Director, Women’s Health Center of West Virginia
“Not only do independent abortion clinics provide the majority of abortions in the US, we also play a crucial role in protecting and defending reproductive rights by challenging abortion restrictions in the courts. In Wyoming, Wellspring Health Access and the patients we serve were nearly written off because of misperceptions of support for abortion in the state. But, along with five co-plaintiffs, we brought a lawsuit challenging the state’s recent abortion bans, that has ultimately reinstated abortion access in Wyoming. Whether providing care to patients in our clinics or defending our legal rights in court, independent clinics like mine fight for all of us.” – Julie Burkhart, Founder & President of Wellspring Health Access and co-owner of Hope Clinic
Past coverage of ACN’s Communities Need Clinics report:
- Bloomberg: Twice as Many Abortion Clinics Closed in 2022 as Last Year
- TIME: Abortion Clinic Closures Double in Year After End of Roe v. Wade.
- USA Today: Independent abortion clinics are ‘disappearing from communities’ after the end of Roe v. Wade.
- Ms. Magazine: Independent Abortion Clinics Are Critical to the Healthcare Ecosystem—And Must Be Protected.
- Washington Post: Abortion Clinics Shouldn’t Have to Stand Alone.
- TIME: Abortion Clinics Are Rapidly Closing. Many Won’t Come Back.
- VICE News: Indie Clinics Are Shutting Down All Over the Country
- Rewire News:The COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Everything, Including Abortion Care
- Ms. Magazine: The Future of Abortion Care Depends on Independent Providers
- Ms. Magazine: Communities Need Independent Abortion Clinics
About Abortion Care Network
Abortion Care Network is the fiercest champion for independent abortion clinics across the U.S. Founded in 2008, ACN is the only national membership association dedicated to supporting independent, community-based abortion care providers and their allies. We know that in order to ensure that abortion is accessible for all, we must stand up for independent clinics, which is why we play a leading role in supporting the sustainability of community-based abortion care. As a community that fights for what’s right, we are guided by an anti-oppression framework to safeguard abortion access, end clinic harassment, and continue to support providers in offering exceptional care.