Some Clinics Aren’t Waiting for Roe Decision to Stop Abortions
At Planned Parenthood clinics across the country, phone recordings tell callers that abortion remains legal and accessible, but some have stopped scheduling abortions.
A banner at the top of the website for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin says: “Our doors are open. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin will continue to help patients get the care they need — including safe and legal abortion. No matter what.” But the organization there decided to stop offering any new appointments for abortion after June 25, anticipating that the court might release its opinion two days later, on its last scheduled decision day. Wisconsin still has an 1849 law on the books criminalizing abortion.
Dr. Allie Linton, the organization’s associate medical director, said the decision was in part because of worries that it would be hard to contact patients if their appointments needed to be canceled. She also said the group’s leaders were “cognizant of the significant trauma that might come for patients and staff if we are in the middle of a procedure or the middle of a procedure day, and have to tell patients we cannot provide care.”
The Wisconsin clinics have made contingency plans on days this month when the Supreme Court has been expected to issue opinions. Many members of the staff plan to spend the week of June 27 training at new clinics in Illinois, anticipating they may need to relocate so that Wisconsin patients can travel there to obtain care.
At Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, which operates clinics in Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Indiana and Kentucky, five clinics closed last month as the organization started shuffling resources. Idaho, Indiana and Kentucky are expected to ban most abortions if Roe is overturned, so the organization is trying to expand telemedicine abortion in the remaining states and to help patients get to out-of-state providers.
As clinics schedule new patients, they are warning them that the legal status of abortion may be in flux. “Our patient navigators, when they are scheduling, they give patients a heads up and say, ‘Hey, just so you know, there may be a legal change,’” said Katie Rodihan, a spokeswoman for the clinics.