Episode 4: Abortion Desert Oasis
After Samira*, 39, a Pakistani mother of two, learns the pregnancy she wanted has a severe fetal anomaly, she travels from her home in Texas to a clinic in Phoenix, AZ. The clinic is an oasis in the abortion desert as bans begin to restrict reproductive healthcare across southern states. After waiting in line all morning, Samira finally receives the abortion she needs.
Camelback Family Planning Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona has been operating since 1999, but recently started to receive a surge of abortion-seeking patients due to increased restrictions on reproductive healthcare access in nearby states. The clinic doesn’t take appointments – it’s first-come, first-serve, with a daily line that extends around the modest brick and glass building. Many mornings, patients line up as early as 4 AM hoping to secure one of that day’s walk-in appointments. Samira*, 39, is one of them. A mother of two, Samira leaft her children at home with her husband to travel on her own from Texas to Arizona to receive an abortion. Although her pregnancy is not viable due to a severe fetal anomaly, her doctor in Texas was not allowed to perform the procedure. Following her ultrasound, Camelback nurses, doctors, and staff take immediate action to get Samira the abortion care she needs.
Thank you to Camelback Family Planning Clinic’s founder Dr. Gabrielle Goodrick and Dr. Sarah Valliere, Ashleigh Feiring, the clinic nurses, patient advocates, and other Camelback staff, as well as Executive Director of Pro Choice Arizona, Eloisa Lopez, and Planned Parenthood. Special thanks to Samira*, her family, and all who shared their stories with us. Some names and voices were changed to protect identities.
Since this episode was recorded, Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. The changing legal landscape in Arizona means that some providers are changing or pausing their operations. Go to AbortionFinder.org to get up-to-date information on where to access an abortion. Go to Plan C Pills to learn how to access abortion pills. Explore National Abortion Funds to inquire about funding support and Planned Parenthood’s Ban Off our Bodies to get involved.
This podcast is brought to you by Population Media Center. Executive Producers are Lisa Caruso and Alex Demyanenko, with Co-Producer Kathleen Bedoya and Associate Producer Dominica Ruelas. This episode was field produced by Joanna Friedman with production services provided by Pidge Productions. Production coordination is by June Neely, and Charity Tooze leads impact strategy. The narration is by Tatiana St. Phard. Original music is composed by Valeri Ortiz.
*Indicates name change