United States: Rebecca Gomperts, a 55-year-old Dutch physician, has spent years fighting for women’s access to abortion around the world.
Made famous by her “abortion boat,” as recounted in the 2014 documentary “Vessel,” she and her Women on Waves group have anchored the ship in international waters off the coasts of Poland, Spain, Mexico and other countries, offering medical abortions to women otherwise unable to obtain them.
But it is in the United States that interest has been surging in her other organization, Aid Access, which since 2018 has provided abortion pills over the internet.
Behind the fast-rising demand is what appears—based on a rare leak from the US Supreme Court—to be the imminent end of federal protection for abortion rights. Once the court makes its decision official, probably next month, some 20 states are poised to ban or severely restrict abortions.
“We’re just not seeing as many people coming in for testing,” said Dr. Timothy Hendrix, senior medical director of AdventHealth Centra Care in Florida, which has more than 40 urgent care locations.
Hendrix said he had not prescribed Paxlovid in a few weeks. Eligible patients have turned down prescription, because they believe the Omicron variant causes mild illness.
“Most of our patients (say) … ‘I’m just going to go home and tough this out,'” Hendrix said.
Pfizer plans to produce up to 120 million courses of Paxlovid this year and expects at least $22 billion in sales from contracts signed through early February. The United States, which agreed to buy up to 20 million pills this year, making it the largest publicly known buyer, is paying around $530 a course, but prices vary by country.