On Wednesday, Jezebel published a story about a mysterious abortion boat serving pregnant people in federal waters several miles off the coast of Texas. A New York City-based former mortgage broker named Michael Kimbro launched Abort Offshore within weeks of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, claiming soon after that his crew had provided nearly 200 abortions to patients in the South—which raised many an eyebrow in the reproductive rights world. Kimbro, I reported, has a history of fraud charges and zero experience in the abortion industry, and his boat is blatantly lacking in medical safety protocols.
Kimbro told me his goal wasn’t to become a legitimate abortion provider, but rather to draw lawsuits and garner enough attention to force states to hold referendums on abortion rights. But almost immediately after the story dropped, he posted and then deleted a tweet and blog post addressing his “conservative friends,” which revealed a new motivation (I archived the page, obviously): He was concerned that abortion bans in red states would ultimately help Democrats win elections and install “idiotic liberal policies.”
We are months away from midterms, and in Texas, an AbortOffshore state, the Republican Governors Greg Abbott’s lead over Democratic Beto O’Rourke has shrunk to 6 points. Even more frightening, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is almost tied with Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza. The Democrats are utilizing these abortion bans as a platform — what will happen when you elect them, and they sneak in bail reform and decriminalize non-violent crimes as they have in New York City? AbortOffshore operates in Texas, so I ask all the Texans out there reading this, do you want to end up like New York City? And to the GOP leaders down there, do you expect conservative women to give up their reproductive rights? Are you willing to risk turning the state blue? So much no. Abortion needs to be on the ballot as a referendum.
Kimbro described himself as “neither pro-choice nor pro-life,” but “pro-referendum,” and explained that he moved to New York City from Texas several years ago, when Manhattan was still “idyllic,” “clean,” and “safe” (LOL):
Now, with the idiotic liberal policies regarding bail reform and decriminalization of non-violent crimes, it’s unsafe. I can’t remember the last time I saw a police officer; no one uses the subway anymore, and I can’t even buy toothpaste without asking a clerk to unlock the shoplifting proof case for me. New York City is lawless.
(From one Manhattanite to another: Sorry to hear about your toothpaste, my guy.)
I found Kimbro’s comments newsworthy enough to report as a follow-up, considering that this is the man allegedly providing abortions to roughly eight women a day on a giant, sketchy boat. People in the Gulf States are desperate for abortion access, yes, but they should also have all the information about any alternative, experimental option they’re considering.
So I contacted Kimbro for comment about the deleted post, and he responded that he had hastily written it to try and “spin” the news before even reading my story:
When you sent me the link early yesterday morning, I thought for sure your article would slaughter me—so before reading your article, I began working on the way to try and spin it.
I didn’t want to read your article, get all personally offended, then write something, so I wrote my spin first. I didn’t even read it; I just linked it and posted my spin.
But then I took a Xanax, went for a walk around Central Park, a realized that you wrote a pretty good damn story. You told the truth, and I wanted to let you be the voice on the subject. So when I realized I liked your story, I ran back home and removed my “spin” and all links to it.
I don’t know what you think of me personally, but my opinion of you is very high. You’re an excellent writer. You’re thorough, you’re tough, and your storytelling is mesmerizing.
So, it was removed because I stand by your story—and my spin was bullshit.
I take literally all of his comments with a healthy dose of skepticism, obviously, and considered not even publishing any of them, as it could be construed as platforming a dangerous person who has openly admitted his history of fraud and desire to “spin” my reporting. Ultimately, my editors and I feel like what Kimbro said here is newsworthy and relevant to public interest, because he appears to be running an offshore abortion operation that could potentially harm or even kill people, or land them in legal trouble. And at a time when many readers will reflexively doubt and dismiss news stories, particularly from Left-leaning outlets, everyone should at least have the option to see the words coming straight out of this man’s mouth before deciding whether to get a medical procedure on his boat.