By Rachel Janfaza, CNN
Planned Parenthood clinics have seen dramatic increases in the number of people from Texas going out of state to seek abortions since the Texas six-week abortion ban took effect, the group says.
The organization says that clinics in neighboring states saw a surge in patients with Texas zip codes. In Oklahoma, Planned Parenthood saw a 133% increase in patients from Texas. In New Mexico, the organization saw a 67% jump in patients from the Lone Star State.
Doris Dixon, director of Patient Access at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, says the impact of the Texas law is being felt nationwide.
“We have other providers from out of town saying they are overwhelmed with our Texas patients,” she said. “And so now our Texas patients are waiting two and three weeks just to get even out of town because those schedules are filling up out of town.”
Planned Parenthood clinics in New Mexico have a 19-day waiting period for an abortion appointment. In Nevada, the wait is 17 days, the group says. And in Colorado, there is a waiting period of between seven and 16 days.
The Supreme Court, which allowed the Texas law to take effect September 1, will hear a case on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion law in December, a direct challenge to the Roe v. Wade precedent that legalized abortion nationwide.
In a new report Friday, Planned Parenthood and In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda warn that nearly 50% of women of reproductive age in the United States — at least 36 million women in 26 states — could lose access to legal abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned.
Friday’s report categorizes the states most at risk of banning access to abortion depending on existing state laws dealing with access to abortion and other reproductive services as well as legislative attitudes toward reproductive rights.
According to the report the number at risk has grown since 2018, the last time the groups conducted similar research. In 2018, 20 states — where at least 25 million women of reproductive age lived — were considered “primed” to ban access to safe and legal abortions. Just three years later, if Roe is reversed, abortion access could be at risk for at least 11 million more people.
“If just Texas is having this issue right now and patients are having these large barriers and people are being forced to have children, what happens when there are 26 states that can’t do this?” Dixon said.
Of the 36 million women and even more trans men, and nonbinary and gender-nonconforming people for whom safe and legal reproductive abortions are in question, at least 5.3 million are Black, 5.7 million are Hispanic or Latino, 1.1 million are Asian, and nearly 340,000 are American Indian or Alaska Native, according to Friday’s report.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton this week acknowledged that residents are traveling outside the state to obtain abortions, following an argument from the Biden administration that the way the ban impacts interstate commerce gives the Justice Department the authority to bring a lawsuit challenging it.
“What evidence that does exist in the record suggests that, if anything, the Act is stimulating rather than obstructing interstate travel,” Paxton wrote, responding to a court filing citing an increase in Texas women seeking to travel out of state for abortions.
The organization Trust Women told the court that call volume for appointments at its clinics in Kansas and Oklahoma had doubled, and a significant portion of those patients were from Texas.
Fund Texas Choice — an organization that helps Texans plan their trips to abortion clinics and pays for their travel — is seeing an increase in demand for their services.
Prior to September 1, 30-35% of Fund Texas Choice clients sought out of state abortion care, Anna Rupani, executive director at Fund Texas Choice, told CNN.
Since the state’s abortion ban went into effect, 100% of the organization’s clients have left Texas for their abortions, she said.
“Logistically, that’s a lot more work,” she said.
If Roe is overturned, Rupani said, “Effectively, folks will just be forced to carry their pregnancy.”
“It is not sustainable to move millions of people from one region to another,” she said, adding that clinics in Oklahoma seeing Texas patients already have limited ability and are pushing Oklahomans to other states. “We’re not set up so that other states can carry the burden of states in the south.”
Alexandria Hernandez, a 22-year-old student at University of Texas at El Paso who runs an organization that provides free emergency contraceptives and pregnancy tests on campus, said following Texas’ abortion ban, she has seen more young women “stressing to get those resources quickly.”
“We try to get them to people as quickly as possible,” Hernandez told CNN.
But in the chance she and the other volunteers don’t, “the beautiful thing is that we are around an hour away from New Mexico,” Hernandez said.
“Being on that border has given us a weight off our shoulders, but it is scary,” she said, adding that she worries having to go out of state for an abortion adds to its stigma. “It feels like you’re sneaking around.”
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