campaign action

It would create more mess and confusion or people trying to get abortions in states of forced labor. Virtual clinics and online pharmacies are inundated, “telehealth abortion websites saw more than 25 times more traffic, according to digital intelligence platform Similarweb.” Clinics bordering states where bans were put in place after the US Supreme Court’s decision to remove the right to abortion are scrambling to meet the needs. This includes medical abortion.

“We have people crossing the border into Texas from New Mexico and parking there for their virtual visit and waiting for medication to be mailed to them,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder of Whole Women’s Health. Their clinics in Texas are closing to be replaced by one in a border town in New Mexico. This is what Planned Parenthood did with two clinics in the Boise, Idaho area, moving facilities just across the border to Ontario, Oregon.

“People’s main option will either be to find a way to travel out of state or to be able to self-manage,” Abigail Aiken, associate professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, told Politico. “The gap that we were already living with – in terms of access to abortion and especially medical abortion being so dependent on postcode – is really becoming more and more stark.”

Stratton of Illinois Told the Judiciary Committee that its state officials are calling on President Joe Biden to create “a centralized center for providers and patients to ease the burden on facility capacity amid increased demand” and to provide “a better access to federal money to support demand.”

It could be done. This is something the Biden administration could begin immediately — a declaration of an abortion-related public health crisis would empower the federal government to do so. One of the things a public health emergency would do is allow medical personnel to practice outside states where they are licensed, giving providers the flexibility to provide abortion care — surgical or medical — beyond borders.

Christie Pitney, a midwife who works for Aid Access, told Politico that her organization has heard from more than 200 clinicians who want to help and provide care online. “I suspect seeing more than two years of telehealth abortions go well and research showing it’s safe and effective has also helped,” she said. An emergency declaration could help pave the way for the legal protection providers need to do so.

Biden told reporters last weekend that he was considering declaring an emergency, though White House staff tried to discourage that, apparently because he didn’t want to offend anyone in court.

Which brings us back to Illinois and the importance of state and local elections in this fight. By all means, the vote will be essential to protect remaining abortion rights in the states and restore them at the federal level. But so is this fight now, without giving up. This declaration of emergency would be a great starting point for Biden.

RELATED STORY: White House Monkeys Must Let Biden Be Biden Amid Abortion-Related Public Health Emergency