An abortion advocacy group has created a new online resource guide to abortion care, clinics and financial assistance across New England. Advocates say it will help distinguish between clinics that offer abortions and those that oppose them.
The website, created by Reproductive Equity Now, was released Tuesday as groups that support and oppose abortion restrictions gear up for a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could overturn Roe v. Wade.
Patients can search, by zip code, for hospitals and clinics that offer abortions using pills or a surgical procedure. The guide shows some rural towns are 150 miles or more from an abortion provider, but, according to REN Executive Director Rebecca Hart Holder, “New England remains an area where folks can get access to care.”
A zip code search will also pull up local crisis pregnancy or pregnancy help centers. Research conducted by REN finds that in Massachusetts, there are three times more of these facilities, that may offer pregnancy tests and counseling about adoption and parenting, than clinics that provide abortion care.
“That was a pretty surprising fact for me,” said Hart Holder. “We think of crisis pregnancy centers as being concentrated in regions of the country that are more hostile to abortion care, but in fact that’s not true.”
The REN site called these centers “fake women’s health care” because they are “typically managed and funded by organizations that oppose abortion in any and all circumstances.” Some center directors bristled at that label.
“Two of our centers are licensed by the Department of Public Health as medical clinics so that fake clinic thing is very inaccurate,” said Teresa Larkin, executive director at Your Medical Options, which runs pregnancy help centers in Brookline, Fall River, Revere and Sturbridge.
Larkin said the three to one claim is misleading as well because it includes maternity homes and programs that provide diapers and other infant care needs.
Hart Holder said it’s important to include warnings about these centers because “they are geared towards trying to persuade people not to choose abortion care.”
REN’s New England guide listed the funds that help with travel, lodging and medical expenses for those who can’t afford an abortion.
A study out this week in Health Affairs found the cost of medication abortions rose 13% nationwide between 2017 and 2020 and 21% for a surgical procedure. The number of abortion clinics that accept insurance dropped in the Northeast during that same period.