Patients choose Nevada for abortion access over other states, according a group of west coast clinics

Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 11:19 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A series of clinics on the west coast is seeing a surprising trend, as patients from across the country are searching for access: more patients are choosing to travel to Nevada, even if a sister clinic is closer.

A to Z Women’s Center has sister clinics in Oregon and Washington. Dr. Charles Browne, who owns the clinics, said although every location has seen an uptick in patients after the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, the Las Vegas clinic is getting the most calls and out-of-state patients.

“It’s been remarkable how many patients are obviously compelled to come to us. We’ve seen at least conservatively, 25 to realistically, 30%, a surge really, in patients that we see from outside the state,” he said. The furthest patient so far has recently been from Alabama.

Map showing access to abortion in the United States *as of: 07/14/22
Map showing access to abortion in the United States *as of: 07/14/22(Planned Parenthood/FOX5)
  • More states in the south restrict abortion access and many patients are heading west. Planned Parenthood says Denver, with a major airport hub, is seeing a surge in patients. But on the west coast, some clinics say they are surprised people from far away are still choosing to come to Nevada.

In the weeks before and after the Supreme Court ruling, clinics tell FOX5 patients have also traveled from Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Browne attributes the geographical range to the ease of access to affordable flights and hotel rooms.

“Remarkably, almost every patient will comment on how they feel a sense of grief over how it affects the other women in their state. That has been something that has come up over and over: how awful they feel for other women in their state who perhaps will not be able to come and be seen to have their procedure done,” he said.

According to the Pew Research Center, 66% of abortion patients are minorities. Dr. Browne sees a disproportionate trend among travelers.

“We’re not seeing many folks coming who are people of color from other states and presumably, that’s because they just can’t afford to do so. That’s a shame, because essentially, what we’re doing is indirectly selectively choosing which women will be able to come and have their procedures done, and which will not,” he said.

Other patients are also seeking ease of access in other airline hubs, nationwide. According to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, Denver, Colorado has seen a major influx of patients from Southern states such as Texas and Oklahoma.