Abortion access organizations say they are confronting an imminent crisis with Florida’s forthcoming six-week ban on abortion. The state, whose neighboring states also have imposed abortion restrictions, was home to more than 84,000 abortions last year, a little over 8% of the estimated total abortions across the U.S. in 2023.

Most of those abortions were for Florida residents, but thousands also were performed on patients who came from nearby states that already restricted abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. Several reproductive health organizations said there simply isn’t the capacity elsewhere to see so many patients.

“We see this as a public health catastrophe. We’re the second largest abortion-providing state after California,” said Amy Weintraub, the reproductive rights program director at Progress Florida, a nonprofit advocacy group for progressive causes. “Even if all these people were able to get appointments, pay for transportation, [have] childcare arranged, and all the rest, there’s no way clinics in other states could provide the load that providers in Florida currently do.”

The state Supreme Court laid the legal groundwork on Monday for the six-week ban to go into effect as of May 1, while it also approved a November ballot measure that will give Floridians the chance to enshrine abortion protections in the state constitution. The decisions mean that, for at least the six months ahead of the vote, most Floridians wanting abortions will have to either continue their unwanted pregnancies or leave the state for medical care.

The two closest states where abortion remains broadly available, Virginia and North Carolina, performed significantly fewer abortions combined last year than Florida alone. “They can’t absorb 84,000 patient visits, there’s just no way,” said Lauren Brenzel, campaign director for Floridians Protecting Freedom, which campaigned for the November abortion referendum….

From State News