California OB-GYN Doctor Floats Plan for Abortions at Sea

Dr. Meg Autry, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCSF, is in the fundraising stage of a project to serve women along the Gulf Coast

Abortions on a boat. No, it’s not a new Andy Samberg SNL Digital Short. It’s a genuine solution being proposed by a California doctor in order to offer healthcare services to women that will suffer as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade, throwing the decision back to the states.

Dr. Meg Autry, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California San Francisco, appeared on MSNBC Monday night to talk to Rachel Maddow about her proposal for a floating abortion clinic in the Gulf of Mexico.

“One of the really important things to remember is that wealthy individuals in our country will be able to get the care that they want and how they want it, whenever and wherever they want it,” Autry said. “And this is serving a portion of our population in these restricted states that are unable to access those resources.”

Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas are among those states along the Gulf with current abortion bans. In Florida, the procedure is illegal after 15 weeks, with exceptions if the procedure is necessary to save a life, prevent serious injury or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality.

This potential workaround of recent bans in these southern states is still in the very early stages. There is, for example, no boat. Dr. Autry is fundraising through the non-profit PRROWESS, short for Protecting Reproductive Rights Of Women Endangered by State Statutes.

“The clinic will be able to offer services such as contraception and point of care STI testing that may not be offered at the closest land facilities,” the website states.

Once a ship is obtained, PRROWESS states it will be equipped with a “full team of licensed health care providers.” Additionally, a FAQ explains, “The vessel will be Coast Guard inspected and will have helicopter access for transport and emergencies.”

“All aspects of this are incredibly daunting,” she explained to Maddow. “Although we’re just going public, we’ve done an extensive amount of research in detail looking at this option, and what seems to be the best way to go about it, both logistically from a security standpoint and from a legal standpoint.”

Although this idea is unconventional in the states, it’s not unheard of elsewhere. Maddow previously interviewed Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, the founder of Women on Waves, an organization that has been providing abortion services on ships in international waters since 1999. 


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