Denver Abortion Clinic Sees 500% Increase in Texas Patients

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Texans are flocking to Planned Parenthood clinics in Colorado after an abortion ban went into effect in Texas last month.

A law passed this spring in Texas banning abortions at 6 weeks and deputizing private citizens to act as vigilantes to enforce it took effect on Sept. 1, and ever since, the vast majority of Texans seeking abortion care have been forced to travel hundreds of miles to neighboring states to end their pregnancies.

Colorado is one of those neighboring states where abortion rights advocates, health care providers, and practical support organizations have been working to meet an unprecedented need for care.

During a press conference Monday, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) president and CEO Vicki Cowart said that their clinic in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood saw a 520 percent increase in Texas patients in September compared to August.

Cowart also said that Texas patients have traveled an average of 650 miles one way to get to PPRM clinics since the Texas law, Senate Bill 8, took effect.

“Many patients don’t have the gas money or the reliable car to begin with, much less the time away from work and the child care necessary to travel 1300 miles for health care,” Cowart said. “This is forcing people to carry pregnancies to term against their will.”

RELATED: “Colorado Advocates Are Helping Texans Get Abortions. Here’s How.”

On Wednesday evening, a federal judge temporarily blocked Senate Bill 8, saying it violates the constitutional right to an abortion and that the “American legal system cannot abide a situation where constitutional rights are only as good as the states allow.”

The state of Texas has already filed an appeal with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals – arguably the country’s most conservative court. It is unclear how long the law will be blocked or whether clinics will resume providing abortions after six weeks, given the threat of being sued retroactively should the law take effect again.

In allowing Senate Bill 8 to take effect, the U.S. Supreme Court provided insight into how it might rule in the upcoming Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which concerns a Mississippi law banning abortion at 15 weeks and presents a direct threat to Roe. The state of Mississippi, along with many Republican lawmakers, has explicitly asked the court to overturn Roe in this upcoming case, in which the court will begin hearing arguments on December 1 and could make a decision by June.

RELATED: “Abortion Rights Remain Strong in CO as Surrounding States Look to Dismantle Them Ahead of Supreme Court Case

“We’re living in a scary time,” said Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. “Here in Colorado, when people come here, we will protect their constitutional rights both to travel and have reproductive health care.”

Around half of all states in the U.S. are likely to ban abortion if Roe is overturned or weakened, which would force patients to flock in even greater numbers to states like Colorado that support abortion rights. People of color in the south and midwest are most likely to be affected by any further erosion of their reproductive rights, and although states like Colorado are poised to help, providers like Planned Parenthood are already struggling to meet the needs of patients who are fortunate enough to be able to travel for care.

RELATED: “CU Study: Banning Abortion Will Increase Maternal Deaths, Particularly for Black Women

For example, due to the huge increase in Texans needing to travel for abortion care, Cowart said that patients seeking appointments at their clinics in New Mexico have been waiting as long as three weeks for an appointment. That means that even those who can get an abortion are being forced to be pregnant longer, impacting their physical and mental health and potentially forcing them to have a more expensive or intensive abortion procedure.

Meanwhile, other neighboring states where Texans are traveling for care are moving to further restrict abortion access themselves. For example, many Texas patients have been relying on Oklahoma clinics for care, but anti-abortion laws set to go into effect there on Nov. 1 threaten to shut clinics down, leaving both Texans and Oklahomans with fewer accessible options.

9 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Meiner49er says:

    These Texans I can abide. 

  2. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Bear in mind that Colorado Right to Life, one of the nefarious “bedroom police” groups in our state, is already trying to work against “abortion tourism.”

    Also remember that elements of the “bedroom police” already are planning their next moves, after abortion is restricted or eliminated, which will be to limit access to contraception.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

       "is already trying to work against 'abortion tourism.'”

      Maybe they can persuade Heidi Hoe to put construction of a big and beautiful wall around the southern and eastern boundaries of Colorado to keep those refugee rape and incest victims from traveling to Colorado to terminate the rapists' pregnancies.

      How about it, Heidi? Too divisive for you?

  3. JohnInDenver says:

    I wish there were real numbers in the coverage somewhere, not just percentages.  A headline of "500%" and the quote from the press conference being "520%" stumps my sleep-deprived brain this morning — not quite ready for a mathematical story problem.  Had been 5 patients, and is now 26?  Was 100, now is 520? 

    Inquiring minds are sharper than mine today.


    • kwtree says:

      If you really want abortion stats, the Guttmacher Institute is your best bet. The trend for the past  40 years has been fewer abortions each year, as contraceptive methods  have become easier and cheaper to access. 

      Guttmacher lists 12,390 abortions in Colorado in 2017, the last year for which they counted abortions. 
      Abortions are only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services.

      Fun fact: your health insurance probably doesn’t cover abortion, contraception, or medical aid in dying; most large hospitals and medical plans are now controlled by Catholic Boards of Directors that prohibit supplying such legal  medical services.
      , except when mother’s life is in danger.

      Hospitals will claim to offer “comprehensive well-woman care”, without including contraception or abortion services.

      So even if your insurance covers these procedures, it’s unlikely that your hospital will. This includes any hospital with “Saint” in the name, as well as Centura, Exempla, and Humana. Search Catholic Health Care Directory for more info. : Kaiser, Anthem, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield are rare exceptions.
      And Anthem makes women sign an affidavit that their pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. BCBS has restrictions; they require doctor referral and HMO compliance.


      This restriction on legal abortion will continue until consumers rebel against it.

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