An abortion clinic in Oklahoma City is being flooded with pregnant Texans traveling up to 601 miles to have an abortion.
The Trust Women Oklahoma City clinic had 11 patients from the Lone Star State in August. It has had 110 from there in the nearly three weeks since the ban took effect on September 1.
In June, Texas passed the country’s most restrictive abortion ban law banning the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy or once a heartbeat is detected, and it became law in October.
Trust Women is one of four abortion clinics in Oklahoma. Two-thirds of their patients now come from Texas.
Oklahoma is a top choice for Texan’s looking to terminate their pregnancy because it does not always require two visits to a clinic to get an abortion like other states.
People have traveled from as far as Galveston (493 miles) and Corpus Christi (601) to the Trust Women.
The Trust Women Oklahoma City clinic is one of four abortion clinics in the state. They had 11 patients from Texas in August and has seen 110 since the beginning of September
People have traveled from as far as Galveston (493 miles) and Corpus Christi (601) to the Trust Women
Jennifer Reince, who works the front desk phones at the clinic, remembered the chaos that began earlier this month. ‘We had every line lit up for eight hours straight,’ she told The Mercury News of the first week after Texas’ abortion ban went into effect.
Last week, the earliest appointment that was available wasn’t until mid-October.
The clinic is now desperately trying to keep up with demand and working to hire more doctors and staff.
Many states across the country, including Oklahoma, have introduced abortion restrictions similar to the one passed in Texas. Oklahoma currently has five abortion laws that are being considered.
One of laws that has been introduced would require abortion providers to be board-certified obstetricians. The new requirement would mean that four of the eight doctors licensed to work at Trust Women would not be able to continue working at the clinic starting November 1, when the law is scheduled to take effect.
Half of American women who got an abortion in 2014 lived in poverty, that is double the amount that was recorded in 1994, when about one-quarter of the women who had abortions lived in poverty, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Abortions at Trust Women range from $650 to $2,350 as the procedures become more expensive the farther along the pregnancy is.
Patients at Trust Women spoke about the difficulties of traveling to Oklahoma City to have their abortion. Samerah, 22, who requested that her last name not be published, went to a Texas abortion clinic on August 31, the day before the abortion ban went into effect.
Marva Sadler is the senior director of clinic services at Whole Woman’s Health, which operates four clinics in Texas. She spoke about the struggles that many people are encountering to have an abortion
When she went into the clinic that day, no heartbeat was detected and so she was scheduled to have her procedure done the next day.
But when she arrived at the clinic on September 1 for her procedure, a heartbeat was heard and her abortion was cancelled as the new law took effect.
She remembered leaving the room and crying in the hallway with other women, ‘We were all just crying in the hallway like, ”What are we going to do?” she told The New York Times.
Samerah explained that she and her partner had finally moved into an apartment with her partner and their 2-year-old son. They had just begun to feel financially secure and she knew this pregnancy would take that away.
She, her partner, and their son traveled to Trust Women from Beaumont, Texas to terminate the pregnancy. They were only able to do so with the help of financial assistance funds, which covered the procedure and plane tickets for her and her son.
Samerah’s partner had to pay his own way which was an added stress after he was laid off from his job for asking for time off and she lost several days of pay to have her abortion.
‘I have to go home and figure out what to do in the next month, and the next month is in a couple of weeks. Like, what am I going to do, you know?’
She now plans to have an IUD fitted to avoid future pregnancies.
Marva Sadler, senior director of clinic services at Whole Woman’s Health, which operates four clinics in Texas, spoke about the many hurdles people are now facing in order to have an abortion since the Texas law took effect.
‘I think a majority of women are being sentenced to being parents,’ she said.
But the restrictive abortion ban may not last in Texas. A hearing has been scheduled for October 1 giving opponents of the law a chance to persuade a judge to suspend it.
Lawmakers are also fighting for abortion rights on a national level. On Friday, the House of Representatives approved the Women’s Health Protection Act.
The Act would ‘protect the right to access abortion care throughout the United States’ by allowing equal access to abortions to all Americans by prohibiting medically unnecessary restrictions and bans.