DENVER (KDVR) — With the recent ruling by the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood clinics in Colorado, a state where abortion is expected to remain legal, are anticipating thousands of more patients from out-of-state.
“We are a safe haven in a region full of states about to ban abortion,” Jack Teter, Planned Parenthood Colorado’s regional director for government affairs, said on Friday.
Teter said the main states Colorado will start seeing patients from are North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. Already in the last year, Colorado clinics have seen thousands of Texas patients and that amount is expected to rise.
“We had a 1,200% increase in Texas Patients during COVID,” Teter said.
He said patients are showing up at local clinics distressed after driving through the night to come and get services.
“They have driven 1,000 miles through the night with their kids in the back seat to get the healthcare they need,” Teter said.
Patient influx could impact birth control, STI services
Teter gave some numbers to give Coloradans an idea of just how many people could come to the state for abortion services. He said in 2021, 55,000 people in Texas accessed abortion care. That was even with the state’s restrictions.
In Colorado in 2021, around 11,000 people were provided with abortion care.
“We can not absorb 55,000 more people,” Teter said.
He is calling on state leaders to step up, expand infrastructure and create a plan so Colorado clinics can help all the people coming in.
“I think that the state needs an emergency public response task force to figure out the effect that patients traveling here for abortion care will have on Colorado patients getting birth control and STI visits,” Teter said.
Selina Najar, who had an abortion procedure back in 2020, said she can’t imagine what people in surrounding states are going through, knowing they can’t get the healthcare they need.
“In July of 2020, if I had found out I was pregnant and I was in a state that didn’t have legal abortion, I would do everything in my power to figure out how to get to another state where it is legal,” Najar said.
Planned Parenthood and other organizations like Cobalt offer financial assistance to people traveling to Colorado for abortions.