NorCal Planned Parenthood clinics ready for influx of patients after Roe v. Wade decision

Stephanie Sierra Image
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

People across the U.S. are already migrating to California to seek abortions and Planned Parenthood clinics are preparing for the influx of patients.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- People across the country are already migrating into California to seek abortions and local Planned Parenthood clinics are preparing for the influx of patients.

There are 17 Planned Parenthood health centers across northern California -- the facility off Bush St. is projected to be the most impacted in the Bay Area, followed by the facility in Walnut Creek off Oakland Blvd.

Healthcare workers have described the process as preparing for battle. A battle that's threatening reproductive freedom. Northern California Planned Parenthood CEO Gilda Gonzalez says: "We're ready."

RELATED: Planned Parenthood responds to Roe v. Wade being overturned: 'Do not lose hope'

"We have seen the stories where people have literally been told in the waiting room that they could not get care," Gonzales said. "It's complicated, people may have to get on planes to get to us."

The overturn of Roe v. Wade makes California the nearest abortion provider for 1.4 million people, according to a 2021 report compiled by pro-choice research group Guttmacher. That's an influx 30 times higher than before.

RELATED: 2 states battle abortion trigger laws in wake of SCOTUS decision; pharmacies limit Plan B sales

So, where's the impact in California?

Gonzales expects Planned Parenthood clinics in Southern California will be most impacted - given the close proximity to Arizona, which is one of 26 states that is likely to ban or severely restrict abortion.

While the Bay Area hasn't seen a surge yet, some staff projections have indicated local clinics could see demand triple. Meantime, healthcare professionals are preparing to tackle another surge: inequities.

"Who is most affected by this? Not the people who have means, but the people who don't have means," said Dr. Laura Esserman, a UCSF surgeon and breast cancer oncologist. "The people where it's too difficult for them to fly or drive someplace."

RELATED: California voters to decide on abortion-rights constitutional amendment in fall

Esserman expects the impacts to women, especially among low-income communities, will be devastating.

"There will be many deaths because of this," said Esserman. "And the blood is on the hands of the people who passed this law."

RELATED: Roe v. Wade decision can disproportionately impact Black, Latinx women, data shows

According to a 2020 study conducted within the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, seven percent of women will self-manage their abortions at some point in their lives. Only 28 percent of the attempts were successful.

"We're going back and harkening back to laws that treat women like chattel," said Esserman. "These are how things were when I was 16."

Planned Parenthood is offering to cover travel and lodging expenses for patients who are income eligible. Medical expenses will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.