As the United States Supreme Court seems poised to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision which could end 50 years of abortion protection in the country, protests and planning continues by pro-choice supporters and abortion caregivers.
Representatives from Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties said the state of California has already seen a large increase in people traveling to the state for abortion healthcare services following recent restrictions in Texas. They warn that the amount of women traveling to the Golden State could increase dramatically if the Supreme Court does ultimately overturn the landmark legislation.
“Prior to the terrible Texas law that went into effect in September of ’21, on average we saw about four out-of-state patients. Since that Texas law, we are now seeing 18 out-of-state patients a month,” said Nichole Ramirez, Planned Parenthood of Orange County’s senior vice president of communications. “Keep in mind we are one of seven affiliates across the state, so you can imagine the huge impact that this is going to have, and again that’s just coming from one state.”
Local Planned Parenthood clinics in the area could see upwards of 100 new out-of-state patients each month if Roe v. Wade is officially overturned, Ramirez said.
California Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta have affirmed their support for abortion services in the state with plans to make abortion protections a constitutional right at the state level. Fellow Democrats in California say they want to make the state a “refuge” for women seeking the medical service.
Elsewhere in the nation, lawmakers in Louisiana have advanced a bill to make abortion a felony crime on par with homicide. Louisiana already has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country.
Planned Parenthood will be hosting a rally in Santa Ana on May 14. Ramirez said the rally will demonstrate that “the power to make our own personal medical decisions is a fundamental right and access to safe, legal abortion is worth fighting for.”