Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day.
CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS PASS SUITE OF BILLS TO PROTECT ABORTION ACCESS: This week, the California Legislature passed 15 bills that strengthen abortion rights. Some have already been signed into law, and Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to approve the rest before the end of the month. Among the proposed policies is a $200 million budget increase for reproductive health care to cover abortion costs for people with low incomes, people without insurance coverage for reproductive health, and undocumented people.
The state would also appropriate up to $20 million to support people seeking abortion care in California from out of state, including the cost of the procedure, travel and accomodations, and child care. Another bill in the package seeks to protect patients and providers in California from other states’ abortion bans by prohibiting law enforcement and corporations — including tech and social media companies — from complying with subpoenas or requests for information regarding legal abortion care provided in California. Lawmakers say these critical efforts are only the beginning of California’s response to the end of Roe v. Wade, with more proactive measures to be proposed in the future.
The bills were developed in collaboration with the California Future of Abortion Access Council, which consists of reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations in the state, including Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California. “None of it was a knee-jerk reaction that was trying to do legislation in any kind of performative way,” PPAC President and CEO Jodi Hicks told the AP. “All of it was very well thought out ahead of time with a group of experts.”
FACING RISING ABORTION PATIENT NEEDS, PPSLR EXPANDS HOURS IN ST. LOUIS AREA: Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri (PPSLR) is expanding their hours at their health center in Fairview Heights, IL, to meet rising needs from out-of-state abortion patients. Right now, the health center has been double and even triple-booking patients to meet demand from states like Kentucky, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. PPSLRSWMO chief medical officer Dr. Colleen McNicholas told St. Louis Public Radio how abortion bans in the surrounding region will continue to shift patient care:
“After the decision dropped, and we saw state after state start to further restrict abortion access, our wait times went from pre-decision being two to three days to now post-decision being 2½ to three weeks,” McNicholas said.
Patients are also coming later in their pregnancy, she said.
“The proportion of folks who we are seeing beyond 14 weeks has increased by almost 80%,” McNicholas said. “And we will continue to see that as wait times get longer and as the availability of services is further and further restricted.”
LaQuetta Cooper, PPSLRSWMO’s director of health operations, added that even with expanded hours and staffing, the Fairview Heights health center will still need to add more hours in the future. With appointments so scarce throughout the region, patients are desperate — and only so many can be seen each day:
“We have some patients that just arrived at the health centers without appointments, thinking they can just walk in,” she said. “We do have patients that call to get appointments, maybe the next day, and that are further in gestational age. … We try to get them in within that week, if not the next day of them calling.”
THE DEVASTATING IMPACT OF TEXAS’S SIX WEEK ABORTION BAN: On Thursday, Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenhood Federation of America, joined Mitchell Reports on MSNBC to highlight the new data illustrating the devastating impact Texas’s six week abortion ban had on patients in one year.
As Alexis told host Andrea Mitchell:
“There are people who we know that are not able to get access. There are patients in Texas who need abortion care, and I know you’ve seen these stories, where the providers in hospitals are scared to give them care, even in the instances of the life of the mother. What we will see is a crisis that is a public health care crisis get compounded as these additional restrictions and bans take effect over this next year."
Watch the interview here.
New data released from Planned Parenthood yesterday highlight the extreme toll S.B. 8 has taken on Texans and on neighboring states — including Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas – even before Roe was overturned. From September 2021 to June 2022, when S.B. 8 barred abortion after six weeks of pregnancy but total bans had not yet taken effect in Texas:
- Planned Parenthood health centers in these surrounding states saw a 550% increase in patients obtaining abortion with a Texas ZIP code.
- More than 400 abortion patients with a Texas ZIP code visited Planned Parenthood health centers in Kansas, compared to fewer than 10 abortion patients from September 2020 to June 2021.
- Abortion patients with a Texas ZIP code at Planned Parenthood health centers in Colorado increased 10-fold compared to the previous year.
- Abortion patients with a Texas ZIP code more than doubled from 19% to 41% of the total number of abortion patients at Planned Parenthood health centers in New Mexico compared to the previous year.
- Oklahoma’s abortion ban, which took effect in May 2022, cut off a critical access point for Texans: From September 2021 to May 2022, more than half (56%) of the total number of abortion patients at Planned Parenthood health centers in Oklahoma had a Texas ZIP code, compared to 15% from September 2020 to June 2021.
As more states ban abortion, patients are forced to literally go to greater lengths: On average in June 2022, Texas patients traveled more than 400 miles to access abortion care, more than four times farther than they traveled on average in June 2021.