A year after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, taking away guaranteed abortion rights for millions of Americans, Martha’s Vineyard is on the verge of having mediction abortion services available on-Island for the first time.

Starting July 3, Island reproductive health clinic Health Imperatives will end the Island’s status as an “abortion desert” when it begins offering medication abortions directly through local pharmacies.

“By adding this capacity, we will be filling a gap in the sexual and reproductive healthcare landscape in southeastern Massachusetts and making it easier for patients to receive the care they need,” said Julia Kehoe, CEO of Health Imperatives.

The service was made possible by a $700,000 grant given to Health Imperatives by the Baker-Polito administration in December, which the organization split equally across its seven locations.

Gov. Maura Healey visited with Health Imperatives last week to recognize the funding on the eve of the Dobbs anniversary.

“I think we understand that right now we are at the anniversary of a really terrible, misguided decision by the Supreme Court,” Governor Healey said at the event. “I have said that we will continue to be in Massachusetts a beacon of hope for patients and providers … I am deeply, deeply committed to that.”

In Massachusetts, the right to an abortion is protected and legal up to 24 weeks. Despite this, Ms. Kehoe explained that the barrier of access is dangerous, especially for low-income people, and within that demographic, people of color and immigrants.

Previously, Island patients seeking abortions traveled to the mainland, received medication by mail or intercepted packages on the ferry.

On an Island where mail services and travel are often unreliable, individuals seeking abortions had a gauntlet of additional problems to worry about. Among them, whether their package would arrive on time or get lost in transit.

Though the arrival coincides with the Dobbs anniversary, conversations about bringing medical abortion directly to the Island began long before the court ruling.

“The network of advocates on Martha’s Vineyard and in Massachusetts has been incredibly strong—probably among the strongest in the country—and they have been steady,” Ms. Kehoe said. “The reason we are in such a good position is because the advocates work so closely with the legislature to make sure that abortion access is a right in Massachusetts.”

Abortion advocates say they have seen increased public support over the past year in the wake of Dobbs, but it's also come with an uptick of people concerned about losing their reproductive rights.

“There is a stronger sense of urgency in the people we talk to everyday who may not be choice advocates, but who are instead very concerned about their rights and their family’s ability to access healthcare down the road,” Ms. Kehoe said. “It’s become more of an issue that people are talking about every day.”