Bay Area physician floats plan for offshore abortion clinic

Originally Published: 09 JUL 22 14:41 ET

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SAN FRANCISCO, California (KPIX) -- A San Francisco doctor plans to help women in states where abortion is limited or banned by offering services on a floating clinic offshore.

Dr. Meg Autry is the vice chair of graduate medical education and continuing medical education for the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at UCSF. Autry said she has had the idea for a vessel that would provide surgical abortions and reproductive health care services for a very long time. It was the recent Supreme Court decision that helped inspire her to kick it into gear.

She's now spearheading the PRROWESS, which stands for Protecting Reproductive Rights of Women Endangered by State Statutes.

"This is all about bodily autonomy and choice, and so people have a right to be pregnant and also not to have a pregnancy," said Dr. Autry.

The vessel would be located on federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, near states where abortions are banned. She wants to offer the services at low or no cost.

"People that care deeply about access to reproductive rights know that we have to be innovative and creative in order for patients to be able to continue to have access," she said. "We know internationally that when access is limited or abortion is illegal, patients die."

The cost is expected to be at least $20 million. Dr. Autry said PRROWESS is looking for donations, ideally a donated boat. She knows that pulling this off won't be easy. The group is already working with a team of attorneys.

"There's operational, logistics, there's the whole idea of maritime law and then there's obviously security, there's liability, I mean the challenges are countless," said Dr. Autry.

If the group secures funding soon, Dr. Autry hopes the floating clinic will be ready in about a year.

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