Nevada healthcare experts anticipate local impacts of a Roe V. Wade reversal

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 9:16 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Three of Nevada’s neighboring states; Arizona, Utah, and Idaho have laws indicating that they intend to ban abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

In Nevada, abortion is legal within 24 weeks since fertilization. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said Monday he intends to keep those protections in place.

Can Nevada’s healthcare system handle an influx of patients traveling to Nevada to get the procedure?

“There are some centers here in Las Vegas where you can go and get a safe procedure,” said Dr. Joseph Adashek, OB/GYN, Desert Perinatal in Las Vegas. “They’ll end up driving here... So yes, I would imagine it would depend on what the other states do.”

Dr. Adashek, who performs abortions, but only for lethal birth defects or for women who might otherwise die, said if restrictions are put in place in neighboring states, he believes it will not stop them from getting abortions, including in Nevada. He said it will just make it more challenging for them.

He also said it will be interesting to see whether abortion providers will move to states without restrictions, but added that it may be too early to tell.

Still, here locally, he believes Nevada will need more OB/GYNs to support the procedure demand. He said improving the pipeline will be key to keeping up with demand.

“If you want to talk about big shortages, now we have medical students, and we seem to be getting more medical students which is great, but without a medical residency for OB/GYN, it doesn’t help a lot. We need more residency spots for OB/GYNs in town”, Dr. Adashek said

Meanwhile, local nonprofit leaders told FOX5 Monday that they anticipate a substantial influx of medical tourism to our state, if the decision’s made final.

“We’ve already seen a significant amount of patients coming from Texas as a result of their six-week ban,” said Lindsey Harmon, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Votes Nevada.

Nikki Levy, attorney for Wild West Access Fund of Nevada, a fund that works towards making abortion care free and accessible for all, also weighed in.

“In Nevada, we already have a relatively small medical infrastructure. We already see we get a lot of callers who are waiting on appointments. And of course, with pregnancy, time is extremely of the essence,” said Levy.

Women’s Resource Medical Centers of Southern Nevada is a faith-based, life-affirming nonprofit. According to their website, at their facility, “You will encounter a supportive, helpful, and compassionate staff that is dedicated to aiding you in exploring all your options.”

The local leader of this group said that as a result of the possibility Roe V. Wade could be overturned, they are currently looking to expand their team of volunteers locally, and expand their footprint nationally, in other states.

“We are preparing for a higher capacity to receive more women into our services, especially into our counseling program,” said CEO Esther Golleher.