Repressive state laws and the overturning of Roe v. Wade are causing a mass migration of abortion clinics and providers, experts say
- The founder of a network of
abortionclinics is already seeing more people crossing state lines for abortions.
- Amy Hagstrom Miller said that hundreds of appointments had to be canceled at their
Abortion laws in states like Texas and the Supreme Court's decision on Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade have prompted a mass migration of patients seeking abortion care.
The court's decision set into motion countless journeys to other states with better access to the procedure. For some, the decision to travel elsewhere was immediate.
"Today we had to call hundreds of patients and cancel their appointments," said Amy Hagstrom Miller, the founder of a network of abortion clinics said on a press call on Friday. "Already, thousands of patients have been forced to migrate outside of the state."
"People whose first flight, first hotel stay is in the context of an abortion," she said. "We've been teaching people how to fly and go through security, and order an uber for the first time in their lives."
Miller founded the network of clinics in 2003. They provided abortion care in Texas, Virginia, Minnesota, and Maryland, and Indiana, as well as abortion medication and telemedicine services in Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Virginia. But as of Friday, Miller said that "to protect our clients and to protect our staff, we have ceased providing abortion care in Texas today."
Miller said that with SB8, a criminal ban on abortions in Texas, and a "trigger" law that will ban abortion after the SCOTUS decision, Texas patients have no options in their home state. At least thirteen states had trigger laws that will ban abortions following the SCOTUS decision.
"We have had so many patients denied abortion since SB-8," Miller said.
Experts told Insider that the costs to pursue an abortion in a state where it is not banned could cost up to $10,000, factoring in airfare, gas, car rentals, childcare, petcare, food, hotels, and unpaid time off of work.
Physicians and medical staff are on the move, too. Miller told reporters that the organization has also moved resources to re-open clinics in Minnesota and Maryland, adding staff and physicians in those locations, looking to "expand brick and mortar clinics in safe haven states."
She added that in the aftermath of SB8 passing last September, waitlists for abortions in nearby states have increased with demand.
"You can't just close clinics and expect people to be seen in a timely fashion," Miller said, adding that after SB8 was passed, adding that Texas patients faced 4- to 5-week wait times in Oklahoma, before the state passed the country's strictest abortion ban in May, HB 4327.
In the months since the passage of Texas's SB8 and before the passage of its own ban, Oklahoma was a destination for Texans seeking abortions, Zack Gingrich-Gaylord, a communications director at Trust Women Foundation, told Insider.
Trust Women hosts two clinics – one in Oklahoma and another in Wichita, Kansas. The Kansas location has seen 50% out-of-state and 50% in-state patients, largely because the region borders Missouri where there is only one clinic in St. Louis, Gingrich-Gaylord said.
In Oklahoma, 60 to 70% of patients received were from Texas due to the SB8 laws, he said. That changed after Oklahoma passed its ban.
"The impact of HB 4327 was that Oklahomans were displaced to our Wichita clinic because they couldn't find appointments in Oklahoma," Gingrich-Gaylord said, adding further strain to the clinic's resources.
"This means that Kansas is the closest provider of legal abortions for nearly 7.7 million people. We have four clinics in the state."
"There weren't enough clinics to begin with and there are even fewer now," he added. "The impact is going to be devastating and profound and enduring."
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