Oregon sees uptick in abortion travel, most out-of-staters come from Idaho
PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - As expected, more out-of-state travelers are seeking abortions in Oregon, according to Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette (PPCW).
It’s the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this summer to overturn Roe v. Wade, decades after the original court decision, which protected abortions in every state.
Patients have since traveled from 15 states to Oregon to get a prescription for an abortion or an operation to terminate their pregnancies, said the nonprofit.
The vast majority of abortions provided by Planned Parenthood have still been Oregonians.
A spokeswoman for the organization told FOX 12 that providers have provided more than 4,500 abortions from the beginning of the year through September. Just 121 of those abortions involved patients who traveled from other states to Oregon for the procedures or prescriptions.
Still, it’s been a sobering time for those tasked with helping patients get their abortions scheduled.
Montana Pindell, who serves as PPCW’s first abortion patient navigator, said she’s recently spoken to women from states like Florida, Georgia and Idaho.
“The ones that stick with me the most are people who travel by themselves and they fly in in the morning and they fly out that same night,” Pindell said.
“The tone of the job, I think has really changed,” Pindell added. “It feels more vital and crucial than ever.”
Most of the patients travelling to Oregon for abortions come from Idaho, according to PPCW. A six-week abortion ban took effect in Idaho in August.
Requests from women who need help making appointments or traveling are funneled to Pindell, who then them set up appointments or connect with other resources.
“It’s folk who are not able to find their own way to an abortion visit -- getting connected with abortion funds, so the conversations really vary across the board. I think people are really scared, people feel like they don’t have any options because they may not, and we’re just easing folks nerves a lot,” Pindell said of her work.
“It’s just a lot of relief honestly, that people express after we talk,” Pindell added. “The cases are unique, but they are similar in the sense that it is horrible that people have to travel to get an abortion.”
Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette plans to open an healthcare clinic in Ontario, near the Idaho border, early in the new year.
FOX 12 also reached out to Oregon Right to Life for comment regarding the increasing number of travelers getting abortions in Oregon.
The pro-life organization sent a statement on behalf of its executive director, Lois Anderson.
“We are working through tomorrow to encourage pro-life voters to return ballots. We have a real opportunity to elect pro-life advocates throughout our state to every level of government. When the dust settles and the outcome of this election is clear, we welcome the opportunity to craft legislation that is broadly supported by Oregonians, supports women during and after pregnancy, and protects innocent life,” said Anderson.
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