With the new abortion laws baring their fangs all over the state of Texas, the women in need of abortion procedures are seeking to get it done in other states, according to a report by The New York Times.
The recent bills signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott are sending traffic to abortion clinics in the nearby state of Oklahoma. The recent abortion law, that went into effect on Sept.1 in Texas, prohibits abortion procedures as early as six weeks and restricts the use of medication to induce abortion.
Recently, the Republican governor signed Senate Bill 4 to support the controversial six-week abortion ban that he signed in May. With the new SB 4, the state of Texas prohibited doctors from providing abortion-inducing medication to women who are seven or more weeks pregnant.
Jennifer Reince, a patient care coordinator at the Trust Women clinic in Oklahoma City, said that they have had every phone line active for eight hours straight since the first week that the restrictive Heartbeat Act took effect.
“We had every line lit up for eight hours straight,” she said.
The NYT report also said that in all four abortion clinics in Oklahoma, at least two-thirds of the scheduled patients were from Texas. The resulting increase in the number of patients is, in fact, prompting the clinics to hire more staff members and doctors to keep up.
Texas Abortion Law And Surrounding State Abortion Clinics
Due to the abortion laws in Texas, abortion clinics in other states are starting to fill up with Texans with unwanted pregnancies who have been forced to travel long distances for abortions.
The affected clinics — in Oklahoma, LA, and Arkansas — have all seen an incredible number of patients originally from Texas.
As Oklahoma does not require two trips to get to an abortion clinic, it has become an obvious choice. Trust Women, for instance, had seen an increase in the number of patients from Texas, from 11 in August to at least 110 in September.
At Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, La., about half of the patients are now from Texas, whereas they only used to be one-fifth before the law took effect.
At Little Rock Family Planning Services, in Arkansas, they saw an increase from 2 to 19 percent of the caseload from Texas in September.
Some patients even reportedly drive through the night, to make it to their morning appointment. The high demand that the abortion clinics in other states are experiencing following the restrictive Texas law is also filling up the appointment books so fast that by last week, some clinics have been fully booked until mid-October.
As appointments in abortion clinics around states near Texas fill up, abortion appointments are being scheduled for later dates, which makes the procedures even more costly. On top of that, some women are having to resort to carrying their pregnancies to term, ruining their carefully laid-out plans for the family.
Marva Sadler, senior director of clinic services at Whole Woman’s Health, the operator of four different clinics in Texas, said that the new law is a sentence to a majority of women. She thinks most women patients would find it hard to arrange child care or take time off work without losing their jobs to travel to other states for the procedure.
“I think a majority of women are being sentenced to being parents,” Sadler added.
The Texas abortion laws are the latest addition to the string of successes by the anti-abortion movement, which has been campaigning for similar state legislatures for years. Even the Supreme Court is preparing to take up an abortion case — the first to be argued before the court presided by three conservative appointees of former President Donald J. Trump’s conservative appointees — that has the potential to remove federal protection for abortion altogether.