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Washington abortion providers say influx of out-of-state patients is already here

Planned Parenthood spokane.jpg
courtesy of planned parenthood of greater washington and north idaho
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Planned Parenthoods in Eastern Washington, such as the Pullman and Spokane Valley locations, are seeing an influx of out of state patients, especially from Idaho.

Abortion providers in Washington say an influx of patients from states that already have – or will soon – ban most abortions has started.

In the wake of the US Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the Constitutional right to abortion, many states, including Idaho, are moving to criminalize most the procedure. Some restrictive laws are already in effect, with bans on the vast majority of abortions going into effect over the next several months.

Paul Dillon, vice president of public affairs at Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, says Eastern Washington clinics are already feeling the effects of the Court’s ruling. He says more than sixty percent of the Pullman clinic’s patients are coming in from Idaho. That’s a 20 percent increase from 2021.

“We have seen the consequences of the chaos and confusion of these bills," Dillon said in a statewide call with providers Wednesday, "where going back last year when Idaho already passed their 30-day trigger ban, so many patients thought well, is abortion legal now?”

Early this year, abortion providers across the Washington said they had served patients who had traveled from as far as Texas to access abortion. Providers say they are working with the state and abortion access funds to handle the increase in patients, especially those from states that don’t allow health insurance to cover the procedure.

Washington Senator Patty Murray, who hosted the provider call, said she's hopeful there will soon be a vote in Congress on access to abortion to put all members on the record on where they stand on the issue.

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.