Earlier this year, Kentucky's Republican governor, Matt Bevin, moved to close the state's last remaining abortion clinic, the EMW Women's Surgical Center in Louisville. Kentucky's second-to-last clinic, run by the same providers in Lexington, had run up against new licensing requirements and was forced to close in January. Now, the Louisville clinic and the governor are in a legal battle to decide whether Kentucky will become the first state in the US with no abortion provider at all.
Women in Kentucky aren't the only ones running out of options. Across the country, the number of abortion clinics has been declining for years, and after another clinic closed in West Virginia in January, seven states have just one abortion provider left. (An eighth, Arkansas, has only one full-service provider offering both medication and surgical abortions.)
Demand for abortion in the United States is at a record low level as more women use contraceptives to prevent unintended pregnancies, but an estimated 926,000 abortions were performed in 2014. And women have ever fewer options for care as lawmakers—who cannot ban abortion outright—push ever more restrictions aimed at forcing providers to close.
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