Local abortion providers overwhelmed by out-of-state women seeking care since Roe v. Wade overturned

PITTSBURGH — Sunday, Jan. 22 would have marked the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. But last year on June 24, the United States Supreme Court overturned the ruling, removing all federal protects to access abortion care.

Local clinicians said almost overnight, women from Ohio, West Virginia, and many southern states began flooding Pennsylvania’s clinics and overwhelming providers for weeks.

“Overnight I was speaking to one day mostly people from Pittsburgh or Pennsylvania at least the next day literally every single patient I spoke to was from Ohio,” said Quin.

Quin is a counselor at Allegheny Reproduction Health Center one of only two abortion clinics in Western Pennsylvania. Quin said when Roe v Wade was overturned in June 2022 she watched her patient count nearly triple overnight as neighboring states began enacting bans on abortions

“We were triaging essentially for a couple of weeks after everything happened and a couple of lines in a row would just be like, ‘called from Ohio crying they canceled her appointment’ or ‘called from Ohio could barely understand,’” Quin said.

Quin said an increase in patient volume comes with more risks -- with women crossing states lines to access care and even having to wait longer to receive care.

“We are seeing people not just from Ohio and West Virginia but also Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, we are seeing people from these really red southern states, and they are taking on a lot of risks [to get here],” Quin said.

To date, 12 states including neighboring West Virginia are enforcing a near-total ban on abortions.

Neighboring Ohio is currently fighting against a ban in court, leaving Pennsylvania’s clinics to provide access to thousands,

“I think it is important for people to know there are only 17 abortion providers throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania,” said Sydney Etheredge, the President, and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania.

Etheredge said that they will work to push for new and stronger legislation that closes the gaps during this upcoming legislative session.

“We know that just having a law or policy in place does not ensure access to care or equity in that,” Etheredge explained.

But until that time comes providers said they aren’t going anywhere

“Abortion has been available for as long childcare has existed and it’s not going anywhere, so you can either make it safe or we will keep fighting,” Quin said.

While the future of abortion care is uncertain locally, both the city’s mayor and the state’s newly elected governor have come out in support of protecting abortion care.

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