And then there were three.
Alabama’s Planned Parenthood locations stopped offering abortion appointments in April — leaving the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa, Reproductive Health Services in Montgomery and the Alabama Women’s Center in Huntsville as the only active abortion clinics in the state.
Over the past decade, the number of abortion clinics in Alabama has dwindled. Previous closures have been because of building requirements and administrative reasons.
For the Planned Parenthood clinics in Birmingham and Mobile, though, abortion services are stopping for a different reason: staffing issues.
In other news: Alabama State Rep. Steve McMillan of Bay Minette dies at 80
A Planned Parenthood representative told Jezebel, a news and culture commentary site, that its leadership had decided to “scale back” some services while the nonprofit onboards new staff in its clinics and at the executive level. The representative referred to the change as temporary.
The suspension of services affects the two locations in Alabama and three others in Georgia, according to Jezebel. Planned Parenthood did not respond to the Montgomery Advertiser for comment by the time of publication.
Until at least October of 2021, the Birmingham Planned Parenthood clinic included abortion pills and in-clinic abortions on its list of provided services. That page has since been taken down.
Currently, the clinic offers “abortion referrals,” instructing prospective patients to contact the patient access center at 1-800-230-7526 “or visit www.abortionfinder.org to find a health center near you.” However, the Abortion Finder still lists the Birmingham center and the Mobile center as options.
The Mobile Planned Parenthood’s website included abortion on its list of services up until at least March of this year.
Alabama has lost half of its abortion clinics over the past decade. The state shut down a clinic in 2013 for operating without a license in Birmingham.
In 2014, Alabama Women's Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville closed because it did not meet the building standards implemented by a 2013 state law, which requires abortion clinics to meet the same building standards as ambulatory surgical centers.
This recent discontinuance of abortion services comes as abortion access is diminishing across the country.
Earlier this month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state’s most restrictive abortion regulations since Roe v. Wade into law. In March, Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed even more stringent restrictions into law, banning abortions beyond six weeks, but the state Supreme Court temporarily blocked the law from going into effect.
Alabama has seen new efforts to enforce more restrictions around abortion as well. During the most recent legislative session, state lawmakers pushed to ban the use of medication in inducing abortions.
The recent drive across state legislatures to pass stricter abortion laws materialized as the courts at various levels, including up to the U.S. Supreme Court, upheld Texas’s six-week abortion ban. The ban is enforced by allowing private individuals to sue abortion providers or anyone who aids in an abortion beyond that time.
The U.S. Supreme Court is also expected to make a decision on Mississippi’s 15-week ban and whether to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer. Until then, the future of abortion rights nationwide remains uncertain.
Hadley Hitson covers the rural South for the Montgomery Advertiser and Report for America. She can be reached at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Alabama Planned Parenthood clinics temporarily stop abortion services