Abortion clinics and providers in California began to see a steep rise in abortion inquiries on Friday only hours after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to reverse Roe V. Wade and send the decision of abortion back to the states.
While California will be one of 27 states with no abortion bans or restrictions, it will also come in as one of the states with the most access for both residents and non-residents. Californian lawmakers have been working on making California an abortion sanctuary state since last year after warning signs were given that Roe could be soon overturned.
Last Month, after the leaked decision draft by the Supreme Court showed that they were intending to reverse Roe, preparations became more harried, with Governor Gavin Newsom vowing to “fight like hell” for abortions and Clinics quickly prepping and expanding services for an expected influx of those wanting abortions from states like Arizona, Texas, and Florida.
All of this came to a head on Friday with the ruling. Women’s health organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, announced an expected surge in the state, including in the LA area and other travel hubs. Gov. Newsom signed a bill granting even greater protection for those coming to California for an abortion. With California now appearing to many as the best chance they have, abortion clinics on Friday told the Globe that the drastic rise of abortions in California was already coming.
“Robin,” who works at an abortion clinic in Northern California, told the Globe that phones were jammed with calls on Friday. “It’s non-stop,” said Robin. “A year ago at this time it was just paperwork and the occasional call ahead from someone wanting to know where to park or maybe an appointment or two. Today, there were so many desperate women asking about it.”
“And these women had looked at our website and everything beforehand. Honestly, they wanted someone knowledgeable about this to talk to after what happened today. A woman from Utah said that ‘her parents would kill her’ if they found out what she was asking. Another woman from the South wanted to be assured that everything was ok because she was so scared. And that’s just two of dozens. I haven’t even bothered to check the voicemail yet. I see the number blinking at 99, and that means there are more than 100 on there right now, probably asking for information. Tomorrow we’re planning on having friends and family come in to help sift through all of these and get back to everyone.”
Some callers have been even bolder, according to LA abortion clinic worker Angela Guzman.
“Non-stop today. And it wasn’t the usual set-ups either. Many are asking about hotels nearby, or if a rental car was better or if they should Uber or take the Metro” Guzman said. “A few even asked me if going to LAX was ok, or if Burbank or Wayne or Ontario was better. These aren’t just scared women. They are in such eminent danger of having to have an unwanted child that they are willing to travel here ASAP, even with high airfares.”
Worry over abortion rights post Roe V. Wade reversal
Others who work at abortion clinics told the Globe similar stories, of more interest coming after the ruling and a large number of women either booking spots from out of state or seeking reassurances that California will remain an option for them.
Even non-abortion related companies saw a huge shift on Friday.
In 2019, Paul Wilder’s San Francisco-based company allowed employees to choose between working in the Bay Area, Austin, or Orlando. Over half decided to leave the state. Contract renewals were tricky with stay-at-home in 2020 and 2021, but this year, with decision coming on next years contract July 1st, something curious happened on Friday.
“We lost 60% moving to Austin and Orlando three years ago,” explained Wilder. “With California being what it is today, no one has really wanted to come back. But this morning, we received a record number of transfer requests hoping to come back to California, with some who didn’t move out the first time and were hired locally wanting to come here too.”
“Nearly all of them have been women, and some were quite blunt in e-mails, saying they no longer wanted to live in those states because of the Roe decision stripping their rights away in those states.”
“One woman who asked to come back had even often made fun of us who stayed in California because of the wildfires and taxes and everything. This one thing not only shut her up but also made her want to come back. I’m a guy, so maybe I don’t see the big deal here all that much, but for many women this is that big of an issue. They’re willing to move back to California solely because of it.”
And many expect the influx to stay high for a long time.
“We just expanded and we’re already talking about building over part of the employee parking lot for even more space because we’re projecting that we’ll have that many women coming here,” added “Beth,” an abortion clinic worker to the Globe. “It’s been crazy all day.”
California’s status as an abortion sanctuary state is expected to attract many seeking abortions from states that have placed massive restrictions against it going into the foreseeable future.
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