(Update: added video, comments from Planned Parenthood, Oregon Right to Life)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — A new law in Idaho will ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and allow family members to sue abortion providers.
It is inspired by a bill in Texas, which resulted in a 60% decrease in abortions in the state, but neighboring states saw a dramatic increase.
Clinics in Oregon expect the same when Idaho’s law goes into effect in a month.
Joanna Dennis-Cook is the director of the Bend Planned Parenthood Health Center, and she said the clinic is well aware.
“We’re pretty well equipped right now for a slight increase and we’re just preparing for a bigger increase than we expected,” Dennis-Cook said.
She said the center was increasing its staff, conducting more training and expanding its telemedicine services.
The location typically sees about 50 aborted patients per month. From what they see in Texas, the clinic is gearing up for that number to increase by almost 230%.
Bend has the only abortion clinic on the east side of the state, and Dennis-Cook said patients traveling for abortions are nothing new.
“No, not at all surprising,” Dennis-Cook said. “First of all, we’re already seeing people from Idaho for various reasons and we’ve seen patients from Texas that’s just where it makes the most sense for them to be seen.”
The Oregon legislature has passed a bill providing $15 million in abortion care funding to help those traveling from Idaho.
In response to the funding, Oregon Right to Life told NewsChannel 21:
“We commend Idaho for taking the lead in the Northwest to protect the unborn child. Currently, it is legal in Oregon to have an abortion for any reason until the time of the birth. Most Oregonians don’t know that our laws are so extreme. We will continue to promote legislation with broad support. For example, legislation that limits abortions when a fetus may be in pain.
It is appalling that legislative leaders approved the use of Oregon taxpayer money to pay for mothers’ travel expenses to come here and end the lives of their unborn children. It seems they have outdone themselves with their pro-abortion policies.
However, Planned Parenthood in Bend plans to continue preparing while keeping its doors open.
“We’re going to be here for patients from Oregon who need us, we’re going to be here for people who have to travel from states like Idaho to come see us,” Dennis-Cook said. “Our plan is to keep our doors open to continue helping as many patients as possible.”