The controversial new law in Texas that essentially bans abortion in that state has caused a ripple effect that is overwhelming abortion clinics in surrounding states as women seek reproductive care elsewhere.
Clinics in Texas’ neighboring states are seeing an overwhelming number of patients, according to a story published by USA Today in partnership with the nonprofit news operation The 19th.
The Trust Women clinic in Oklahoma City saw 80 abortion patients the week of Sept. 6. That number is about double what the clinic usually sees around this time, according to a spokesperson. Almost two-thirds of those patients were reportedly from Texas.
At Trust Women’s other clinic in Wichita, Kansas, 70 abortion patients were attended to during the same week. Half were from Texas. The Kansas clinic is also seeing more people from Oklahoma because the sudden increase in patients there means local residents can’t make an appointment for an abortion there.
Trust Women is expanding its schedule to try and accommodate the increase in patients, but that means hiring more doctors who are licensed, and that process takes time.
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Typically, more than 55,000 abortions take place in Texas each year. Close to 4,000 of those usually take place in September, per state health department data. Already, the surges in neighboring states appear unlikely to account for all the patients who would typically be getting abortions at this time. If the ban stays in effect longer, clinics in neighboring states will not be able to absorb all of those new patients, health care providers have said. The Justice Department is seeking an injunction to halt the Texas law’s enforcement. But a hearing on the issue is not scheduled until Oct. 1. If an injunction is granted, Texas is expected to appeal the decision and seek its reversal.
The Texas law is forcing women to make trips as long as five to eight hours by car to be able to have an abortion. Meanwhile, national backlash against the law is building rapidly.
New polling shows that a vast majority of Americans disapprove of Texas’ law, which empowers private citizens to sue people who have abortions or aid someone in getting the procedure.
Also, actress Uma Thurman revealed in an op-ed Wednesday that she had an abortion as a teenager. She said her decision was heartbreaking but ultimately, “allowed me to grow up and become the mother I wanted and needed to be.”
Thurman says she felt compelled to reveal what she called her “darkest secret” to voice her criticism over Texas’ law.