Weeks After Pregnancy From Rape, Tennessee Woman Seeks Abortion in Another State

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After 24-year-old Mylissa Farmer was raped in March, she went to the hospital for a sexual assault forensic exam. The results confirmed she was pregnant. She had an abortion a few weeks later..

But when she found out she was pregnant again in May, she was told by her doctor that because of Tennessee’s new restrictive abortion law, he could not perform the procedure. .

So she did what a growing number of Tennesseans seeking abortions have done: She drove out of state. .

Farmer traveled about four hours to Asheville, North Carolina, for the procedure on May 27. .

“I didn’t want to have to go out of state, but it was the only option I had,” she said. .

Tennessee is one of 13 states that have outlawed abortion at six weeks, before many people know they are pregnant. In Tennessee, there are no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. .

Since the law took effect in February, abortion providers have seen a sharp decline in the number of procedures performed in the state. Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi said it has seen a 90% drop in the number of abortions performed in Tennessee since the law took effect..

The new law has forced many Tennesseans seeking abortions to travel out of state. Dr. Lester Shawky, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Knoxville, said he has seen an increase in the number of patients coming from Tennessee to his clinic in North Carolina. .

“I think it’s a tragedy that women are having to travel out of state to get the care that they need,” Shawky said. .

Farmer said she was grateful that she was able to get an abortion in North Carolina, but she said it was a difficult experience. She had to take time off work and find childcare for her other children. She also had to pay for the procedure out of pocket, which cost her about $1,000. .

“It was a lot to go through, but I’m glad I was able to get the procedure done,” she said. .

Farmer said she is sharing her story to raise awareness about the impact of Tennessee’s abortion law. She said she hopes that her story will help others who are facing similar challenges. .

“I want people to know that they’re not alone,” she said. .

The number of Tennesseans seeking abortions out of state is likely to increase in the coming months. That’s because the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. .

If Roe is overturned, it is likely that many states will ban abortion outright. That would force even more people to travel out of state to get the procedure. .

For people like Farmer, who live in states with restrictive abortion laws, the prospect of Roe being overturned is terrifying. .

“It’s really scary to think about what could happen,” she said. .

Farmer said she is committed to fighting for abortion rights. She said she hopes that one day, all people will have access to the reproductive care they need. .

“I’m not going to stop fighting until everyone has the right to make their own decisions about their bodies,” she said..

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