DENVER (KDVR) — A nonprofit dedicated to providing resources for women who are seeking abortion care in Colorado says it has seen a drastic surge in demand in the month since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Cobalt has been working in Colorado since 1967 when the state first decriminalized abortion. The organization has a fund to provide financial assistance to people seeking abortion care. While Colorado has codified the right to abortion care in a new state law, lawmakers are looking to increase protections even further.
Since Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24, leaving abortion rules up to the states and creating a patchwork system of care across the country, data from Cobalt shows financial demand for services has shot up exponentially.
“Within a few hours of the Dobbs decision, our client intake tripled,” said Cobalt Abortion Fund Director Amanda Carlson. “We’re now averaging about 20 to 25 folks that we are serving per day. That could be procedure funding, that could be travel support. It could be both.”
Cobalt sees surge in out-of-state abortion clients post-Roe
The Cobalt Abortion Fund typically goes to two pools: helping cover the cost of the procedure and helping with what’s called “practical support,” which includes travel expenses, child care and hotel rooms.
The organization says it has helped 168 clients with practical support, 64% of them came from Texas, 31% from other states and 5% of them are from here in Colorado. This is up from 31 total patients who were helped with practical support in 2021.
The real impact Cobalt says it sees comes in terms of the money focused on practical support. It spent $57,773 on those support expenses from June 24 to July 21. More than $20,000 of that was for hotels, and another $15,000 was on flights.
That represents a quarter of the $206,511 total the Cobalt Abortion Fund spent in 2021, and nearly 10 times the $6,054 spent on practical support last year.
“We’re facing this being the new normal, this high volume of people that not only need procedure funding but now need travel support in every aspect – flights, hotels, sometimes cash reimbursement for childcare,” Carlson said.
When it comes to abortion procedures, which cost between $400-$600 during the first trimester according to Cobalt, the fund will usually help cover about half the cost.
So far this year, the fund says it has spent $152,536 for 710 procedures. This works out to about $215 per procedure on average. Through all of last year, by comparison, the fund spent about $200,000 for 1,154 procedures, which comes to about $173 on average.
“We’ve seen that domino effect where if appointment slots fill up in Colorado Springs, for example, residents in Colorado Springs might have to be booking appointments in Denver,” Carlson said. “And we’re so grateful for the myriad of providers that have stepped up. They’ve been adding staff, they’ve been adding shifts to their schedules, but there’s only so many hours in the day. We need to figure out how to sustain this need because we’re in a national health care crisis and unfortunately, there are other states like Kansas who are looking to ban abortion in their state and that would have another devastating domino effect.”
Planned Parenthood seeing longer waits for abortion services
FOX31 reached out to Planned Parenthood to ask about the impact. We received the following:
• Our doors are open. We are working hard to see as many patients as we can, as we work to expand abortion access as well.Planned Parenthood
• About half of our patients now come to us from other states.
• Wait times fluctuate each week, but the overall trend is that wait times are getting longer.
• For a medication abortion, typically we could be doing walk-in visits. Now we are looking at a wait of 7-10 days for a medication abortion.
• For a procedural abortion, it depends on how far along the pregnancy is. A patient could experience a wait as long as two weeks for a procedural abortion.
• We have taken some steps to prepare for and mitigate the effect of this decision.
• We have been expanding our services for years — expanding our geographic footprint and offerings, and expanding telehealth.
• Although we have been preparing for this decision and expanding our services for years, health centers in our region will struggle to manage the demand in the long term. We must expand and protect care in neighboring states.