Since then, most of our patients have been too far along in their pregnancies to qualify for abortion care. I tell them that we can offer services only if we cannot see the presence of cardiac activity on an ultrasound, which usually occurs at about six weeks, before most people know they are pregnant. The tension is unbearable as they lie there, waiting to hear their fate.
If we detect cardiac activity, we have to refer them out of state. One of the women I talked with since the law took effect is 42. She has four kids, three under 12. I advised her that she could go to Oklahoma. That’s a nine-hour drive one way. I explained we could help with the funding. She told me she couldn’t go even if we flew her in a private jet. “Who’s going to take care of my kids?” she asked me. “What about my job? I can’t miss work.”
I understand that by providing an abortion beyond the new legal limit, I am taking a personal risk, but it’s something I believe in strongly. Represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, my clinics are among the plaintiffs in an ongoing federal lawsuit to stop S.B. 8.