Group of nurses believe implications of overturning Roe v. Wade will be felt locally

PITTSBURGH — A group of nurses believe the implications of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will be felt locally in the very near future even though abortions are legal in Pennsylvania.

“Abortion is healthcare, and this decision is going to restrict access to the care people need,” said West Penn NICU Nurse Kari Xander.

>>> What does Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade mean for Pennsylvania?

A handful of nurses shared their thoughts not the thoughts of the healthcare system where they work. They’re all nurses at West Penn Hospital.

“As we head into elections in Pennsylvania, it is imperative that we consider politicians who will stand up for our rights,” said Jean Fitzgibbons.

Jean Fitzgibbons works in the labor and delivery department. She also worked at Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania for several years.

“Abortions are healthcare,” said Fitzgibbons. “There are safe and effective ways to end unwanted pregnancies. Anyone capable of pregnancy should be allowed access to abortion services without restriction.”

Jessica Jack also works in the labor and delivery department and talked about abortions during a medical emergency.

“It’s never an easy decision for these families to make,” said Jack. “I see the struggle they face. I have seen them in front of me try to decide what’s best for them. What’s best for their wife? What’s best for their unborn child? And really for that reason this is an absolutely necessary medical procedure that needs to remain legal in Pennsylvania.”

She also says this ruling is going to strain an already strained system.

“Our hospital system is already overwhelmed with the number of patients in our population in our region so to have people come from other areas and other states it could really overthrow this delicate balance that we already facing with significant shortages of staff,” said Jack.

Shortly after the Supreme Court ruling came down, a Highmark Health spokesperson shared this official statement on behalf of the whole healthcare system:

“As Highmark Health evaluates the myriad of implications of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, we remain committed to working with federal officials, state policymakers, employer partners, and local health care leaders to respond to this changing landscape and provide coverage options that best meet the needs of health plan members, patients, and team members across our footprint on a state-by-state basis.

We have and will continue to act in accordance with the laws of the communities that we serve.

Through its diverse portfolio of businesses, Highmark Health is also committed to providing a complete range of high-quality health benefits and services to women at every stage of life, and that will not change with this decision. Allegheny Health Network is also focused on educating and training future generations of women’s health care professionals.

Once we have determined the best path forward, within the letter of the law, we will provide guidance and continued support directly to our customers, health plan members, patients, and employees.”