Almost a third of the abortion clinics in the United States — not affiliated with Planned Parenthood — have closed over the course of the last seven years, according to a new report from the Abortion Care Network, which also says state-level abortion laws are partially behind the trend.
"Over the last decade, abortion clinics have been closing at an alarming rate," the report claims. "Of those closures, the vast majority have been independent abortion care providers."
The report breaks down abortion providers into four groups, with independent abortion clinics providing a 58% majority of abortion procedures while Planned Parenthood is responsible for a 37% share. Doctor's offices and hospitals together account for 4% of performed abortions. Furthermore, the report says, independent clinics represent only a quarter of the facilities offering abortion in the United States.
In 2012, the report says there were 510 non-Planned Parenthood abortion clinics operating in the United States. Since 2014, however, 136 clinics have closed down while few others have opened, bringing the current total to 344, representing an overall decrease of over 32%. The report notes that a clinic is considered "closed" if it closes entirely or stops providing abortions.
Also, the report finds that the trend of closures "threatens to make already-scarce abortion care beyond the first trimester increasingly difficult to access," and notes that 85% of the independent clinics that closed in 2018 and 2019 provided abortions after the first trimester.
The ACN finds one of the main reasons for the decreasing number of clinics is the state-level pro-life laws, which make compliance expensive.
"Since 2010, anti-abortion politicians have passed more than 400 laws that attempt to make it too expensive or logistically impossible for abortion clinics to operate," ACN executive director Nikki Madsen told CBS News in a story published on Wednesday. The report notes that independent abortion clinics "lack visibility, institutional support, and sustainable financial resources."
The report also takes a jab at the wave of state-level abortion laws — such as fetal heartbeat legislation and bans on abortion based on sex, race or disability — passed across the United States earlier this year. It notes that "several of the states that passed harmful restrictions this year are states where independent clinics play an integral role in providing abortion care."
The report notes, for example, "Kentucky, North Dakota, and Mississippi only have one clinic remaining, and that clinic is independent," while "in Louisiana and Alabama, the only remaining clinics are independent clinics and in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Georgia, the only providers of in-clinic [abortions] are independent."