Abortion clinics prepare for increase of out-of-state cases

Published: Jul. 3, 2022 at 9:06 AM AKDT
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(CNN) - The Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade just over a week ago and, since then, several states have banned abortion in nearly all cases and more have seriously limited access to the service.

Some women are forced to travel across state lines to get the care they need, and some clinics will feel the strain of extra patients.

“Some patients fly. Some may prefer to drive, so being near the highways that we are and the airport being in Bloomington gives patients the most options available,” Midwest Advocacy Director of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance Sharon Lau said.

Whole Woman’s Health is one clinic bracing to start treating more patients with I-35 connecting it to three of the states with the most restrictive abortion laws, including Texas and South Dakota.

Planned Parenthood CEO Sarah Stoesz is also bracing for an influx.

“We expect to see a minimum of 10% to 25% more people coming, seeking an abortion,” she said.

Stoesz says she is not sure if they can “handle the increase.”

“There is already a health care worker shortage and we’ve been struggling with that since the beginning of the pandemic that hasn’t gone away,” she said.

Liz Van Heel is worried.

“I always thought I would have two boys,” she said.

Six years ago Van Heel says she and her husband went in for an ultrasound and left feeling devastated.

“It was Friday the 13th. That’s when my doctor told me the news that this baby was incompatible with life and that is when I decided I wanted an abortion as soon as possible,” she said.

Van Heel says her unborn baby had a neural tube defect, meaning her baby’s brain did not fully develop.

“That diagnosis meant that I would either miscarry at any time or the moments after I gave birth, the baby would die,” she said.

Van Heel says that continuing to carry a baby that was not compatible with life would not be good her mental or emotional health.

The Minneapolis mother, who later had a healthy child, is worried that women like her will have an even tougher time getting an abortion.

“That is worrisome. Having gone through this, that period between deciding you want an abortion and then actually having an abortion, it feels so long. I would be honored to be a resource for anyone that needs it,” Van Heel said.

Planned Parenthood says it is hearing from others like Van Heel who are offering to be a resource for those who live far from airports or do not have cars.

Even for those with transportation, Planned Parenthood expects appointments will be in short supply.

In addition to the states already limiting or banning abortion, several more are waiting for legal issues to play out after lawsuits blocked the new restrictions from taking place, but with the federal precedent gone, those legal challenges may be dismissed and the law could be allowed to take effect.

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