It's so hard to get an abortion in many parts of the United States, it's almost laughable — or at least, it would be if the situation weren't so dire. NARAL decided to exploit this fact in the video "Comedians in Cars Getting Abortions" starring comedians Alice Wetterlund and Nato Green, which demonstrates exactly how difficult it is to find access to abortion services (despite the fact that abortions are absolutely legal in the United States). In a riff off the web series "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," the two drive around Los Angeles trying to find somewhere Wetterlund can get an abortion to no avail. They run into some pretty hilarious characters and scenarios along the way, but here's the part that's not funny: The video mimics what's happening in real life.
It seems like every month, there's a new bill under consideration aimed at making getting an abortion even more difficult than it already is. From unnecessarily strict regulations imposed on clinics to waiting periods required for patients — which affect one in six people in the United States seeking abortions — states have managed to find sneaky ways around upholding the right to an abortion that we were granted by Roe v. Wade. Because of such laws, the already difficult decision of getting an abortion now also comes with many logistical difficulties as well. And while many are in opposition to these measures, only 50 percent of the U.S. population is pro-choice, according to a 2015 Gallup poll.
NARAL's video illustrates the many hurdles Americans must leap over to get an abortion through three scenarios that basically, minus a few details, happen in real life.
1. Clinics Closing
When Wetterlund and Green arrive at the first abortion clinic they had in mind, they discover it's closed. This scenario isn't too unlikely given the pace at which clinics throughout the country have been closing: Between 2011 and 2016, 162 abortion clinics closed or stopped offering the procedure, while only 21 new ones were created. There are currently five states in the country with only one abortion clinic.
2. Pregnancy Crisis Centers
In search of an alternative clinic, Wetterlund accidentally comes across a pregnancy crisis center — an institution run by anti-choice groups that are meant to look like health clinics, but which aim to convince people seeking abortions to carry their pregnancies to term. Notes NARAL, many crisis pregnancy centers are unregulated and unlicensed, and may "use tactics that mislead women about pregnancy-related information." The United States is home to over 4,000 pregnancy crisis centers. "Did you know that at eight weeks your baby's brain has almost completely developed and he's beginning to recognize iPhone passwords?" the woman at the front desk asks while presenting statues of fetuses in the video.
3. Waiting Periods
Once she finally finds a clinic where a doctor says she'll give her an abortion, Wetterlund is told there are just a few logistics to deal with first. Specifically, she needs to leave and come back in exactly 32 hours and look at photos of the baby at different ages, including as a 10-year-old. This is obviously an exaggeration, but the concept itself isn't really that far out there — according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 25 states required ultrasounds before abortions as of October 2015, and three states require technicians to describe the fetus to the patient.
When Wetterlund asks how she can just get an abortion without all this rigamarole, the doctor replies, "If you want an abortion, the easiest way is probably just to go to a place where it's legal, like Canada or Uruguay." Between all this and Trump's candidacy, the reasons to cross the country's borders are looking more and more compelling.