When a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs re-opened in February, just a few months after a male, anti-abortion extremist went on a deadly shooting spree at the clinic, it was an oddity in more ways than one.
Its re-opening goes against the trend of the falling number of clinics. In fact, American women’s access to abortion is slipping away at the fastest rate ever on record, with 162 clinics shutting down since 2011. Bloomberg reported that just 21 clinics have opened over the same timeframe.
The shutdown of clinics across 35 states - equivalent to more than one every two weeks - have been propelled by the constant pro-life narrative from Republicans during the election campaign.
All the Republican candidates propose more pro-life policies, and Ohio Governor John Kasich was the latest presidential candidate to sign a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, which accounts for a third of the recent loss in the number of abortion clinics.
A woman’s chances of accessing abortion services are now more dependent than ever on where she lives and how much money she can pay for travel.
Since 1973 when the US Supreme Court legalized abortion, Texan women have been the biggest losers due to a total of 30 sweeping laws in 2013 which restrict family planning centers. These laws are currently under scrutiny from the Supreme Court.
Similarly, Iowa faced 14 of these restrictive laws and Michigan was slapped with 13 laws. Even Democratic states like California have suffered a blow, with the normally abortion-friendly region losing half a dozen providers.
If you live in Missouri, there is just one abortion clinic.
Stand-alone clinics are increasingly under threat as lawmakers propose making them more like hospitals or surgeries to make sure abortions are “safe”, even though most of the procedures do not require surgery. Clinics simply do not have the money to make the required changes.
Bloomberg reported one case in Kalispell, Montana, where Susan Cahill said she didn’t have the money to rebuild after her practice got vandalized in 2014.
Guttmacher Institute data shows the number of these standalone clinics - which provide 400 or more abortions per year - fell from 705 clinics in the late 1980s to 553 in 2011, the most recent year it can provide data.