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Out-of-state patients seek abortions in Bakersfield

Posted at 9:38 PM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 02:16:33-04

It’s been a little over a month since the united states supreme court overturned the nationwide right to an abortion, but abortion remains legal here in California, and some people from out of state are coming here for reproductive care.

"That's when my heart fell into my stomach, that this is real, it's here, and we have a mission to be able to help these patients who are coming," Raul Jimenez, Center Manager of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte Bakersfield said.

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte Bakersfeld's Raul Jimenez recalled that moment, when a patient from out-of-state drove over 20 hours to their health center, seeking an abortion. This was just days after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, which includes 34 California locations and one in Reno Nevada, has been providing care for people from out of state for years.

An influx of those patients have come, since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion, and SB8 passed (the Texas State law that bans abortions after a heartbeat is detected).

"We've had patients from across our affiliates come from Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Alabama, so it's been a little gut-wrenching,” Jimenez said. “But I'm happy to say Planned Parenthood, our doors are open to provide safe, legal access to abortion services."

In 2020, Planned Parenthood health centers, California-wide, saw over 7000 patients from other states. During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, they’ve seen more than double the number of out-of-state patients compared to the previous fiscal year.

“Over a third of those patients from out-of-state travel for the Mir Monte Bakersfield location specifically from Texas since the passing of SB8 went into effect,” Jimenez said.

And since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June, Mar Monte call centers have seen a 17 percent increase in volume.

"We've been preparing for this since 2016, when Donald Trump was elected,” Jimenez said. “We knew that if he had the opportunity to stack the courts, that it would happen,” Jand we're prepared to help as many patients as we possibly can.”

Planned parenthood has been training additional clinicians and has been expanding some of their locations in preparation to meet the increased need, according to Jimenez.

Planned Parenthood’s public affairs department is also working closely with California legislators to strengthen abortion rights in the state of california, as the federal protection is no longer there.