TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A California doctor plans to bypass southern state’s abortion bans by taking to federal waters.

OBGYN Dr. Meg Autry is proposing a floating abortion clinic in the Gulf of Mexico. She said it will be easier to access than driving to another state where abortion is legal.

It’s through the non-profit called PRROWESS, or “Protecting Reproductive Rights of Women Endangered by State Statutes.”

According to its website, “PRROWESS is a solution for individuals seeking reproductive health care and surgical abortion where it is illegal or impossible. Those in the most southern parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas may be closer to the coast than to facilities in bordering states where abortion and reproductive health care are available.”

“This provides access to those patients that they wouldn’t otherwise have,” Autry said

Autry means in southern states where abortion bans are in effect.
“The concept is that the vessel would be in federal waters which the distance from shore varies by which state that you’re near and there will be various ways of transportation to the vessel depending on the distance,” she said.

Florida legally allows abortions up to 15 weeks,

“The proposal is to provide abortions up to 14 weeks,” said McKenna Kelley, a volunteer with the Tampa Bay Abortion Fund. “In Florida it is legal under current law to get an abortion up to 15 weeks so it’s not necessarily something that may be needed for Florida residents right now.”

Kelley said Florida is in a unique position.

“Florida is both a receiving state for people coming from more restrictive states and it is a restrictive state itself with the 15-week ban,” she said.

The Tampa Bay Abortion Fund is an organization that breaks down barriers that exist to abortion access.  It provides financial assistance, transportation, childcare for women seeking abortions.

“We need to all work together on this, any organization, any group that is dedicated to breaking down barriers to abortion access,” said Kelley.

For women in southern states, Autry said she believes going to the coast and boarding a boat would be easier than flying or driving another state where abortions are legal.

The PRROWESS website said services on the ship will be offered at little to no cost to the patient.