Cities Prepare For Influx Of Traveling Patients In A Post-Roe America

The new frontier in the battle over abortion rights may play out in small state-line towns like Ontario, Oregon.A new Planned Parenthood clinic is rumored to open there a first for the conservative eastern Oregon town just across the river from Idaho. Two trigger laws there would criminalize abortion 30 days after the Supreme Courts imminent ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade. But in Oregon, the right to an abortion is firmly protected, making Ontario and the future Planned Parenthood clinic the closest place to get a legal abortion in a post-Roe Idaho. John Kirby, who owns Ontario’s local hardware store and serves on the city council, is not happy about it.”You know, that’s what they do in western Oregon,” Kirby said. “That’s not what we in eastern Oregon want to portray. It’s just a different lifestyle.”Kirby says Ontario less than an hour drive from Boise has already become Idaho’s hub for recreational marijuana sales, which are legal in Oregon. Now with abortions coming to town, Kirby jokingly muses as to what’s next.”So if we could get prostitution, it would be a trifecta,” Kirby said.Oregon recently approved $15 million in new funding to help cover abortion costs for patients traveling from other states a demand projected to more than double once the Idaho ban goes into effect.The Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, estimates 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade in the coming months. The monumental shift would split the nation in half as Republican-led states impose abortion bans and Democratic ones like Washington and Oregon push to ease access for patients traveling from neighboring states.As these legal boundaries for abortion are redrawn in the U.S., abortion providers are rethinking their approach to care. At a Seattle Planned Parenthood clinic, Erin Berry, a physician and medical director for Planned Parenthood Washington, has back-to-back appointments. She says in the past month, she’s seen multiple patients travel from Texas and Oklahoma where abortion is now banned. Once Idaho, and likely Montana, join that list, Berry expects the number of out of state clients to surge.”A few months ago we had safe, legal abortion in all 50 states, and that’s going to go away,” Berry said. “We are going to live in America where access is a huge patchwork.”As Washington braces for a projected four-fold increase in patients from Idaho seeking abortions, Berry says Planned Parenthood is …

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