An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Abortion providers fear Washington State could see spike in need if Roe versus Wade is overturned

Courtesy of the Guttmacher Institute
A map of states likely to ban the majority of abortions soon after Roe Versus Wade is overturned.

The US Supreme Court may overturn the 1973 Roe-versus-Wade ruling next summer. Washington healthcare providers say they’re already seeing out-of-state patients seeking the procedure, and they anticipate far more if Roe is overturned.

If that happens, The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-reproductive rights research group, anticipates demand for abortions may rise 385% in Washington State.

Dr. Denise Bayuszik, Chief Medical Officer at Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, says between 30% to 40% of abortion appointments at its Spokane Valley clinic are already for patients from Idaho.

“We know that patients will not just come from Idaho, but from all over the country," Bayuszik said. "We recently saw a patient from Texas, who first traveled to Kansas and then to Colorado. Eventually our affiliate was able to provide the care they needed. But it's just so sad to see this unfold."

In a roundtable session Thursday, Washington Senator Patty Murray said she’s very concerned about how Washington health clinics could handle the increased demand. She is advocating for Federal protections. Murray is co-sponsoring the Women’s Health Protection Act, which has already passed the House. She says she is working now to bring the bill to the Senate floor.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.