According to one study, Washington state saw a 385 percent increase in patients seeking an abortion, most of them from Idaho.
SEATTLE — Healthcare providers in Washington state are anticipating an influx of patients seeking abortion services who are from other states.
An OBGYN Dr. Seattle-area resident Charlie Browne said just hours after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn federal abortion protections, he was deluged with calls from patients from abroad requesting an abortion.
Browne said he received death threats in the days leading up to the Supreme Court’s official ruling, but said the implications of the decision were too important not to comment.
“Within the first few hours of the clinic after the SCOTUS announcement, we likely saw an approximately 25% increase in calls from patients outside of Washington state,” Browne said.
Washington is set to become a haven for those seeking abortion treatment. According to a study published by the Guttmacher Institute, the state could see a 385% increase in patients seeking an abortion, with most patients coming from Idaho.
Browne said clinics were working to add more hours and days of services to accommodate the influx, but he expects this will put a strain on healthcare providers.
“We will not turn patients away, whether they are from Washington or not. So it puts a certain burden on each individual clinic,” Browne said.
Local leaders pledge more money to strengthen abortion treatment. Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell plans to invest $250,000 in the Northwest Abortion Access Fund. King County Executive Dow Constantine announced $1 million in emergency funding to handle the expected influx of patients.
Governor Jay Inslee also promised to welcome women from abroad.
“We will be vigilant to ensure that these services are available and that we have sufficient resources to do so,” Inslee said.
Not all lawmakers in Olympia agree.
“[The ruling] It’s a celebration when you’ve been working at it for 40 years or more, like I’ve done,” said Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley.
The Republican senator said, “The majority said the state has a legitimate interest in prenatal life, and reserves that, and then protecting maternal health and safety. I’ve always believed in that.”
However, Sen. Padden does not support the state providing more funding for abortion.
“I think we could spend this money much better than supporting the destruction of innocent human life,” Padden said.
While a wave of patients is expected to come to Washington, Browne said those patients who don’t have the means to travel have been hit the hardest.
“These will be minorities, these will be people who don’t have insurance,” Browne said.
KING 5 reached out to Governor Inslee’s office and asked if the governor had any plans to call the legislature to a special session to allocate more state funds to help with the expected surge in patients.
At the time of this report, the governor’s office has not yet responded. Inslee will hold a press conference on the verdict on Saturday morning, which will be available to view on KING5.com and the free KING5 mobile app.
https://www.king5.com/article/news/health/washington-out-of-state-abortion-care-patients-idaho-supreme-court-roe-v-wade/281-57f95b02-315e-4b8c-b552-54bdc425ed4b Washington abortion providers preparing for out of state patients