After Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, Florida – the third largest state in the country — became one of the only realistic options for Southerners seeking abortions. In the next 18 months, Florida recorded the nation’s second-largest increase in abortions, even as the state enforced what was then a 15-week limit, substantially earlier in pregnancy than what was guaranteed under Roe. In 2023, about 84,000 abortions took place in Florida’s 60-some clinics, according to state health department data.

At A Woman’s Choice, clinicians said they have treated close to 400 abortion patients per month since the end of Roe. Between a third and half came from somewhere else in the South: mostly Georgia, but also Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. Most patients arrived when they were somewhere between eight and 12 weeks pregnant.

With the six-week ban in effect, Kelly Flynn, the president of the clinic, estimates the number of patients they see — virtually all of them people seeking abortions — will fall by more than half. Her clinic is scheduling only a handful of abortions per day; staff think that maybe they’ll see 20 to 30 patients in a single week, instead of a single day.

On Wednesday morning, all but one patient seeking a consultation came from Florida. Three of the nine who showed up were already past six weeks, one only by days. Clinic staff offered to help them make appointments in North Carolina, the closest option. One of the physicians on staff is licensed in both North Carolina and Florida, and could do North Carolina’s first mandated visit from Jacksonville.

Of the three states whose strictest limit is a six-week cutoff — South Carolina and Georgia also outlaw abortion after that point — Florida is the only one to require patients make two separate in-person visits for an abortion. It makes a tight timeline even tighter: Patients need to discover their pregnancies early enough for both appointments and make sure they have time off from work two days in a row.

Even by Tuesday, the day before the law took effect, its effect was visible; the 24-hour rule meant that in preparing patients for Wednesday, clinicians could only see people who were at or earlier than 5 weeks and 6 days. With such a short timeline, the patients seeking their preliminary abortion consults hailed exclusively from Florida. It was the first time in months that had been the case, Miller said.

Read the full article about Florida's abortion ban by Shefali Luthra at The 19th.