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Independent Abortion Providers: What are they? #wokewednesday

The term “independent abortion provider” is used to describe freestanding clinics that perform abortion services which are not affiliated with a national organization such as Planned Parenthood. While Planned Parenthood plays an important part in both providing family planning services around the country and advocating for women’s health, the political and media focus on Planned Parenthood often obscures the role of independent providers.

According to the Abortion Care Network, a national advocacy organization, independent abortion providers provide approximately ⅔ of the total abortions performed in the United States. These clinics are based in their communities and many have provided high-quality outpatient care to patients for decades. They also often fill important gaps in care. For example, in Arizona, independent providers are the only facilities that provide service to women who are more than 12 weeks into their pregnancy.

In Arizona and many other places, independent providers are hit hardest by Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP laws). These laws, which put financial burdens on clinics by requiring unnecessary equipment, facilities, procedures, and paperwork, are designed specifically to shut down clinics and independent providers, which do not have the backing of a national organization, are the most vulnerable to these tactics. Since 2011, when TRAP laws first started being passed by state legislatures, independent clinics across the country have been forced to close. Many of these clinics served rural areas and worked with marginalized populations.

The current state of independent providers in Arizona is indicative of this problem. Currently, Arizona has only four independent providers remaining, all of which operate in the Phoenix area.

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