Planned Parenthood in Oregon ‘prepared’ for increased demand for abortions
Planned Parenthood leaders in Oregon on Tuesday condemned the proposed U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade and pledged their organizations would be ready for an expected surge in demand.
“The Supreme Court is acting in defiance of the American people,” Lisa Gardner, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwestern Oregon in Eugene, said in an online news conference. “This leak clearly shows that our deepest fears are coming true. We are at a time of crisis for access to abortion.
This crisis is bigger than abortion rights, she said.
“What’s happening now ties into the larger issue of voter suppression, transgender rights,” Gardner said. “It’s been a constitutional right for 50 years.”
Abortion rights advocates in Oregon braced for the overturning of Roe v. Wade since the Supreme Court hearing on an abortion ban in Mississippi late last year. A leaked copy of what appears to be the majority decision in the case, written by Judge Samuel Alito, said the court was prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade to “return the issue of abortion to the elected representatives of the people”.
A report on the notice by Politico said Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett supported Alito’s opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts later confirmed it to be genuine.
Abortion rights are codified in Oregon law through the Reproductive Health Equity Act of 2017, which expanded coverage of abortion care to everyone – regardless of status – and made them free. But there are still Oregonians who can’t afford childcare, travel, food or lodging to have an abortion, according to An Do, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates. of Oregon.
She said the Northwest Abortion Access Fund of Eugene, which helps low-income women with abortion-related expenses, has seen high demand, even from residents of Lents in the southeast. from Portland.
“It can’t just be a legal right to access abortion,” Do said. “It has to be about the actual ability to access providers, to pay for your care, to travel to get care when you need it.”
Oregon Legislature Expanded Abortion Access This Year
In February, the Oregon Legislature approved $15 million to expand access to abortions. The money has not yet been released, according to Seeding Justice, the organization responsible for distributing the funds. Some of that money should go to the Eugene fund, Do said.
Do said Planned Parenthood is looking for ways to increase access to abortions in Oregon. The organization leased clinical space in Ontario, but declined to release details.
“We do a lot of outreach, we have a lot of conversations, we do a lot of identification where we think the need is,” said Anne Udall, president and CEO of Portland-based Planned Parenthood of Columbia. Willamette, which covers northern Oregon and southwestern Washington. “Ability to have some type of brick-and-mortar access in eastern Oregon is something we are looking at.”
Women in eastern Oregon used to go to Boise, Idaho for health care, including abortions, because the nearest clinic was otherwise in Bend, but the Legislature of Idaho banned the procedure after detecting heart activity, which typically lasts about six weeks. The ban is on hold due to a subsequent lawsuit, but Udall said Idaho is likely to enact it.
Udall said the organization plans to launch mobile units and will scale up the use of telemedicine to reach women in remote areas. Planned Parenthood offers medical abortion – two pills have been approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration. Patients have taken them to a clinic but telemedicine eliminates the need to travel.
Gardner said his organization is not sending out prescriptions but is considering it.
“We’re getting ready to do that,” Gardner told the Capital Chronicle after the press conference.
Udall promised organizations will be ready for increased demand.
“We’re ready for what we think is a big need,” Udall said. “We’ll be there for our out-of-state neighbors.”
The only catch: patients must have an address in Oregon to access medical abortions. But the address may be temporary, said Kristi Scdoris, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Columbia Willamette.
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