Patients mob Florida abortion clinic

MIAMI (AFP) — Doctor D. has never had so much work.

The abortion clinic where she practices in Jacksonville, Florida, has been overwhelmed by patients from neighboring states that have placed new restrictions on the procedure since a historic ruling in June by the United States Supreme Court.

“I used to see about 25 patients on a typical clinic day, and now I see about 45,” the doctor said. “There’s so much demand.”

She asked that her name be withheld because of the sometimes violent opposition to the work she does — many abortion providers have received death threats.

While Florida has reduced its window for abortions to the 15th week of pregnancy — it was previously the 24th week — the state’s laws are still among the most permissive in the southeast US.

Other Republican-led states in the area — including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia — have almost completely banned the practice or reduced the window to six weeks, seizing on the Supreme Court’s stunning reversal of the nationwide right to abortion.

Since then, numerous women have traveled to Florida to clinics like the one where Dr. D works, which is owned by Planned Parenthood, the largest US provider of reproductive services.

“We are in dire straits right now,” Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood affiliates, said. “I would call it a public health emergency.”

Planned Parenthood clinics in Florida have opened their doors on weekends and extended their working hours, with 12-hour days in some clinics, to handle the influx of out-of-state patients, most of them from Georgia, Alabama or Texas.

The organization is seeking to hire an additional nine doctors, some of them coming a few days a week from neighboring states where they can no longer work, Goodhue said.

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