DENVER (KDVR) — More abortions are happening in Colorado due to the pandemic, according to Planned Parenthood. COVID-19 regulations outside Colorado are forcing more women to travel across state lines.
For years, restrictions in certain states have resulted in women traveling to Colorado for abortions, but providers say they’re now dealing with a dramatic increase.
As Colorado deemed various health care procedures as non-essential, abortion was always protected and continues to be protected during the pandemic. However, in Texas, COVID-19 allowed state government to stop abortions altogether.
“The numbers that we’ve seen have been pretty extraordinary,” said Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “Our last fiscal year we saw patients coming for abortion from 37 different states.”
But she says, in the month of April, Colorado Planned Parenthood locations saw more than 250 out-of-state patients for abortion care services, with just under 150 of those being from Texas.
“Abortion was put on hold [in Texas],” she said. “It was an effective ban on abortions in Texas.”
While abortions have since resumed in Texas, the impacts of legal battles creating uncertainty still has women on the road to Colorado and other states, according to Cowart.
“Literally people just haven’t known whether they could get an appointment or not, so a lot of them have said, ‘That’s it — I’m just getting in the car and driving,'” she said.
New Mexico, Nevada, Florida and Colorado are the closest states to Texas with less restrictive abortion regulations.
Providers in Colorado say restrictions elsewhere are more of a burden for those in lower socioeconomic statuses who do not have the means to travel to different states for abortions.