“I’m grateful that we’re here as long as we can be to assist the patients that we can,” Williams said. “But it’s also just terrible and saddening that these patients are just trying to access their basic health care and have so many barriers in place that it’s become impossible.”Abortion clinics in other states that neighbor Texas have experienced a similar influx. In August 2021, before the Texas abortion ban took effect, the Oklahoma City Trust Women abortion clinic saw 11 patients from Texas. In September, they saw 127. By mid-October, Kathaleen Pittman, administrator of Hope Medical Group for Women, an abortion clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana, said that Texans had jumped from 20 percent of its patient load to 60 percent.Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, which has clinics in Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada, saw a 130 percent spike in Texan patients between August 2021 and September 2021. A single Denver Planned Parenthood location saw a 520 percent increase in the number of Texan patients.Between September and October of last year, Planned Parenthood Great Plains’ two Oklahoma clinics provided abortions to 28 Texans. But between September and mid-October of this year, the clinics had done so for more than 400 Texans. At least 44 Texans have also gone to the Planned Parenthood Great Plains locations in Kansas.
The Texas abortion ban has effectively remapped abortion access across the country.
“When you have so few providers in any part of the country and then you add this huge number of patients from a new part of the country, it does displace folks, all over.”
“The country is moving in the direction of making abortion illegal and taking us back to the Dark Ages, the medieval times, when women had no choice about being pregnant,” said Warren Hern, whose Boulder, Colorado abortion clinic has also seen a slight uptick in Texan patients since the Texas abortion ban was enacted. (Colorado is another Guttmacher destination state.) “In the 21st century, we’re moving towards the 4th century. And Texas is leading the way.”Charlie Browne, medical director at the All Women’s Clinic, recently met one patient who had traveled from Brownsville, Texas, a city located on the U.S.-Mexico border. She was just 18 years old. In the wake of the Texas ban, the clinic has started to totally cover the costs of one Texan patient per week.“It’s a very small step, but it’s something that hopefully will make a tremendous difference in at least one person’s life,” Browne said. “Many of the women are actually in challenging domestic relationships, I would say. Not necessarily violence or abuse—sometimes that, but sometimes just in a relationship where it’s in your best interest to not continue the pregnancy.”Over the last year or so, Browne has had several conversations with people who work in and run abortion clinics about what they will do if the Supreme Court hollows out Roe. They’ve had to wrestle with so many questions, he said: Can they open more clinics? Can they get more staff? Can they expand their clinics’ size?“There are a lot of folks who are nervous about it, myself included, because it would be—ugh, yeah. I don’t know if—ugh,” Browne said, as words clearly failed him. “I kind of bury my head in the sand and don’t want to think about it.”
“In the 21st century, we’re moving towards the 4th century. And Texas is leading the way.”