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Mobile abortion clinics ramp up operations as Roe v. Wade is overturned

(NEW YORK) — An abortion clinic with locations in four states was developing plans to expand its operations just as news broke that Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. case that enshrined abortion as a constitutional right, was overturned by the Supreme Court.

Just The Pill, which was founded in 2020, provides reproductive health care services in Colorado, Minnesota, Montana and Wyoming. They also currently operate two mobile clinics in Colorado. The services Just The Pill provides include medication abortion, which is an abortion procedure that uses a combination of pills to terminate a pregnancy.

The group announced it would build a fleet of mobile clinics that would travel across the country, specifically in states where abortion remains legal yet surrounding states have banned the procedure, such as Illinois and New Mexico.

“We are undaunted,” Dr. Julie Amaon, medical director of Just One Pill, wrote in a public statement after the Supreme Court decision was announced on June 24.

“We will bring care to the people who most need it, and we will defy reproductive repression by providing more affordable and accessible care.”

Following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, nearly all abortions have ceased in 13 states.

Just The Pill’s mobile clinics in Colorado see patients for surgical abortion procedures, on average 16 patients a day, and for abortion medication pick-up, on average 50 patients a day, Amaon told ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast.

The vans take approximately eight months to build and are nondescript, devoid of signage and bulletproof in an effort to keep patients and staff safe, Amaon said. “You wouldn’t know what was inside them if you saw them from the outside,” Amaon told “Start Here.”

Medication abortions are being hailed as a crucial alternative in states where abortions are now illegal because they can be picked up across state lines, or mailed by groups such as Aid Access, a European organization that has said it will not stop mailing the abortion pill across the U.S.

The medication is called mifepristone, and it is usually taken with a second medication called misoprostol. Mifepristone was approved by the FDA in 2000, and in 2021 it was announced that doctors could prescribe the medication by mail.

At the National Right to Life Committee convention last weekend, restricting access to medication abortion was discussed as the next stage of the “fight,” CNN reported.

Conservative lawmakers in South Dakota and Georgia have recently passed legislation that makes it harder to get abortion pills by mail.

“I don’t believe that telemedicine abortions are safe for individuals, for women to conduct at home, many times they’re doing it unsupervised,” South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem told ABC News’ “This Week.”

The FDA says mifepristone is safe and effective.

Medication abortions accounted for more than half of all abortions in 2020, according to data published by the research and policy non-profit Guttmacher Institute. The medication is taken within the first 10 weeks of the pregnancy, according to the FDA.

Just The Pill steps into the spotlight alongside telehealth providers Choix, which was founded in 2020 and provides abortion medication in California, Colorado, Illinois and New Mexico, and Hey Jane, which was founded in 2021 and provides medication abortion in New York, California, Washington, Illinois, Colorado and New Mexico.

Choix is planning to expand its operations to “every state where we can safely and legally provide abortion care,” said CEO Cindy Adam.

“Our goal is to be in every single one of those states by the end of 2023,” said Adam.

Hey Jane is also planning a “geographic expansion” of its operations, according to CEO Kiki Freedman, adding, “our top priority is accommodating the significant increase in demand in the states we’re currently in.”

On Friday, in light of the Supreme Court decision, the Biden administration announced it would move to protect access to mifepristone as well as contraception, and direct the Department of Health and Human Services to “​​take steps to ensure that these critical medications are available to the fullest extent possible.” The White House address did not mention misoprostol.

Just The Pill’s mobile clinic project, called “Abortion Delivered,” hopes to expand its fleet to 30 vans, with a timeline that is “dependent on funding,” according to a company spokesperson. The second fleet will be in Illinois and the following fleets will travel to New Mexico and Pennsylvania.

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