Thursday, February 25, 2016

Why Abortion Clinics Are Closing at a Record Pace

 Bloomberg Business (Feb. 24, 2016) Why it's so hard to run an abortion clinic, by Meaghan Winter.

Since 2011 at least 162 abortion providers have closed or stopped performing abortions, and only 21 clinics have opened.  There are multiple reasons why abortion clinics are being forced to close - none of which correspond to the quality of care they provide.  States impose laws, like ambulatory surgical center requirements, that require clinics to make unnecessary and costly renovations and increase staffing.  Laws prohibiting Medicaid and insurance coverage for abortions mean that women who seek abortions, who are disproportionately below the federal poverty line, often have to pay out of pocket.  This leaves abortion clinics caught between the challenges of higher costs and patients in need of services who cannot afford them.   According to Bloomberg, "the average amount paid for an abortion nationwide—about $450 for the most common procedures—has been relatively stagnant for decades, despite inflation in other areas of medicine and higher costs."  This leaves many clinics just barely able to break even.

In addition to dealing with hundreds of state laws designed to make care more burdensome and costly, the stigma around abortion also makes it more difficult and expensive to operate clinics.

[C]linic owners have had trouble securing mortgages, medical insurance, contractors, and someone willing to deliver Band-Aids and bottles of water. Especially in rural and conservative regions, a wide range of companies and organizations decline to work with abortion providers, either for reasons of personal conscience or because of fears that being associated with abortion will cost them business.

The cumulative impact of targeted laws and restrictions and stigma, make it increasingly difficult for clinics to stay open and for women to be able to access services.

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