Groups that run clinics and manage access to abortion funds warn that they will need more money, more providers and more space to help take care of the influx of people who will cross state borders to have abortions. This means that states hoping to protect access must quickly expand their network of providers and provide the necessary financial support.

Abortion advocates whose organizations have spent months or years building capacity and raising funds pending CaviarAfter death it is still difficult to determine how much more money and resources they will come in handy given the unprecedented nature of the situation. But they know this: they are already stretched and, in places, unable to keep up with needs. And adding more clients from states that will ban abortions will exacerbate existing problems.

Texas stopped abortion last year after six weeks of pregnancy has already been shown to mean restricted access for providers in other states. Now that Caviar repealed by the Supreme Court – as Fr. draft majority opinion obtained by POLITICO that would be enough – about two dozen states could restrict or ban the procedure. This will create a desert for abortion in the heart of the country, which could send thousands if not millions of people seeking reproductive health away from home.

“We’ve seen a huge need in Texas … and we can’t keep up with demand there,” said Melissa Fowler, program director of the National Abortion Federation, which manages the nation’s largest patient care fund. interview. “If many more states are restricting abortions, we will have to help large numbers of people cross state borders. It can be a huge burden. “

And with a little help is expected from the federal government, if any, the right to abortion advocates and experts say blue states should keep access to the procedure affordable and accessible amid pressing red state restrictions.

“Progressive states need to step up, secure funding and support the infrastructure of clinics in their states,” said Elizabeth Nash, interim deputy director for public affairs at the Gutmacher Institute, in an interview. “Because these clinics are already feeling the impact of Texas, and they’re also feeling the impact of other state abortion laws.”

“We need funding”

At least 23 states likely to ban or severely restrict access before abortion follows Caviar be repealed, including states with pred-Caviar there are still bans on books or so-called trigger laws that will take effect quickly, if not automatically. If all this happens, it will jeopardize access to abortion for about 36 million women of childbearing age, according to the Gutmacher Institute.

And medical migration has already begun. In medical centers of planned parenting in the states bordering Texas, since September, when the six-week abortion ban came into force, by the end of December 2021, the number of abortion patients had increased by nearly 800 percent from a year earlier. During that time, more than 500 patients from outside the state sought help monthly at Planned Parenthood Medical Center in California.

When Caviar Planned parenting in Illinois, which is surrounded by states restricting access to the procedure, expects abortions at its clinics to triple from 10,000 to 12,000 a year to 30,000 a year.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in the number of patients from overseas – from Texas and now from Oklahoma and Florida,” Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois, said in an interview. “Before Texas, we saw 4 to 6 percent of abortion patients from abroad. And now it’s about 8 percent of our patients who have abortions from other states. We are preparing to receive 20,000 to 30,000 patients due to abortions each year. ”

Vendors and activists who have lobbied lawmakers for years to strengthen protection are now expanding their demands.

They want state legislatures to spend more money on travel funding for people who want to have an abortion, strengthen overcrowded clinics and build infrastructure such as health care. They want states to require health insurance plans to cover the procedure.

And they want to increase the number of providers within their borders by improving the skills of health professionals who have the right to perform the procedure.

“We need to be as reliable and creative as opponents of abortion with some of these restrictions on abortion last year,” said Fowler of the National Abortion Federation. “It’s great to be a safe haven, great to support choices and maintain people’s access to reproductive health, but we need funding and other things to reconcile with that.”

Lawmakers in California, where Planned Parenthood has more than 100 clinics, have introduced more than a dozen bills to expand access to abortion, including proposals that would better fund clinicscreate a A $ 20 million state fund help patients with travel and other expenses and allow some practicing nurses to have abortions without medical supervision.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who has long promised to make California a “haven” for abortion seekers, has already signed a bill in a package that prohibits health insurers from charging surcharges or any other limit costs for the procedure. And another measureto protect California residents from out-of-state prosecution against abortion, take effect immediately upon signing by the governor.

Last week, Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation it will protect service providers and patients traveling from states where the procedure is illegal, and expand the list of practitioners eligible to perform abortions to include certified nurses, midwifery nurses, and physician assistants.

Now in New York I wanted to promising $ 35 million in aid – A $ 25 million abortion service provider fund and $ 10 million in reproductive health center safety grants – as an emergency measure funded through the state Department of Health.

“Don’t mess with New York State,” Hochul said at a virtual briefing on Tuesday, promising to give the “ruling country” an answer. “We’re ready.”

But in some blue states, political barriers and legal obstacles remain. Oregon lawmakers who created a Reproductive Health Fund $ 15 million in February in response to a six-week abortion ban in Idaho have not yet seen the flow of money. The Maryland Legislature under the leadership of the Democratic Party has been postponed $ 3.5 million for a clinical training programbut now Republican Gov. Larry Hogan decided to delay funding.

Top Democrats in the Massachusetts Legislature offered $ 500,000 up to $ 2 million in grants to three local abortion funds under a budget that is unlikely to become law by July. And a bill that could make abortion funding more sustainable in New York, Senate legislation that creates an access to abortion fund and allows residents to contribute to it through state income tax returns – sat on the committee for several months.

“These are great initiatives. But that’s not close to the amount of funding needed, which is several hundred million dollars, said Lisa David, president and CEO of Public Health Solutions, a company that provides reproductive and other health services to low-income families in New York. . City, in an interview.

“I’m not sure that’s enough to really solve the problem that needs to happen, and it could happen pretty quickly,” she added.

“Not just a gas ticket or a plane ticket”

According to the Gutmacher Institute, abortion costs an average of $ 550, and this excludes associated costs such as travel and childcare, which can rise dramatically if patients need to cross several state borders to seek help. These costs can quickly become unfeasible, advocates warn, especially for colored people or low-income people.

In Illinois, charities are intervening to help pay for transportation, accommodation, and child care for patients coming from another state, and the city of Chicago is also allocating $ 500,000 to pay for those expenses. In New York, Attorney General Tish James recently announced legislation to improve provider funding and support access for low-income residents and those traveling from other states.

Donations are also growing into nonprofit abortion funds. But Fowler said the National Abortion Federation is already spending about $ 30,000 a month just on people trying to leave Texas for help, and struggling to keep up with demand.

“It’s not just a petrol card or a plane ticket – it’s hotel accommodation, it’s gift cards for food, it helps them find childcare so they can even leave the state,” Fowler said.

Telemedicine and abortion pills can help alleviate this burden. Medical abortions already make up more than half of all abortions in the country. And the Office of Food and Drug Administration has lifted the requirement for personal donation of drugs during a pandemic. Now telemedicine, which exploded amid the pandemic, is ready to become telemedicine the next frontier in abortion.

“You can imagine that this really opens up opportunities for patients living across the country in a red state,” Jennifer Childs-Rochek, president and CEO of the Parenting Planning League in Massachusetts, said in an interview.

But it also has its limits. Medical abortions are an effective option only in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. Several states already ban or restrict abortions through telemedicine, and more may follow if Caviar canceled, which raises legal issues for both patients and providers.

As the red states shift criminal responsibility for abortion, in in some places it is a criminal offense to ensure the procedure, the blue states are responding by expanding the legal protection of providers and patients. New York lawmakers have suggested Fr. copy of banknote to the new Connecticut Shield Act. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has voiced support for such a measure in Massachusetts.

Lawyers say legal protection for service providers and patients seeking abortion is important, but it is not at the top of the list of needs. Caviar fall.

“We need to focus on patients, and patients need access to services. This really means that it is important for progressive states to think about what funding they can put into it, ”said Nash of the Gutmacher Institute. “Efforts to protect providers are also important, but now we need to focus on patient access.”

Amanda Eisenberg and Shannon Young contributed to this report.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/11/blue-states-abortion-safe-havens-00031526

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