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Planned Parenthood moving into Oregon-Idaho border town

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Published: Apr. 16, 2022 at 3:43 PM PDT
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ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) — Planned Parenthood is renting medical office space in the town of Ontario on the Oregon-Idaho border.

Planned Parenthood has not confirmed its plans for the space, but has said it’s preparing for an influx of out-of-state patients seeking abortions in Oregon because of multiple legal challenges to abortion rights, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

Earlier this year they successfully lobbied the Oregon legislature to set aside $15 million in an unrestricted fund for reproductive health equity.

“No matter what happens we will be there for our in-state and out-of-state neighbors, and continue to meet the needs of our patients,” said Kenji Nozaki, the chief of affiliate operations at Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette. “We are prepared to support anyone who seeks their legal right to decide whether and when to become pregnant.”

The office space Planned Parenthood is renting in Ontario was previously home to the Four Rivers Health Clinic, a nonprofit serving people without health insurance.

Joe Recla, the group’s executive director, said Four Rivers will use the rental income to continue to support uninsured patients.

A Planned Parenthood clinic in Ontario could be a significant high desert outpost for access to abortion and other reproductive health care services, in advance of a U.S. Supreme Court decision anticipated this summer that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the nearly 50-year-old landmark abortion ruling.

The small town of Ontario is about an hour’s drive from Boise, Idaho.

Idaho has two trigger laws criminalizing abortion at all stages of pregnancy that would take effect in the event of a successful legal challenge to Roe v. Wade.

Oregon has no legal restrictions on abortion, but the state has one clinic that performs abortions east of the Cascade Mountains, in Bend. For those seeking abortions in eastern and northeastern parts of the state, the closest clinics are out of state, in Boise or Walla Walla, Washington.