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Restricted access to US abortion clinics puts pressure on rural areas in the west

In the city of Bend in central Oregon, the onlyplanned parent-child relationshipclinic that serves the eastern half of the state, especially for patients from the neighboring state of Idaho. Preparing for the inflow. Mosttriggers that ban abortionsare expected to come into effect this summer.

"We are already hiring," said Joanna Dennis Cook, Bend Health Center Manager.

USIn the West, many abortion providers serving rural areas are vast areas where staff shortages and long-distance travel are barriers to female reproductive services. So I was already having a hard time meeting the demand. Oregon alone is geographically larger than the entire United Kingdom.

Some facilities that serve rural areas in states where abortion is legally permitted areRoev. The overthrow of Wadecan exacerbate these existing challenges. The procedure is prohibited or severely restricted.

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Earlier this year, Oregon state legislators predicted an abortion ban in Idaho and went to an abortion service. Created a $ 15 million fund to increase access.

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Nonprofit, Northwest Abortion Access Fund This helps patients pay for the trip and the procedure itself, the first $ 1 million It is being used to receive. NWAAF has been working with Bend Clinic for 20 years to meet the needs of more and more patients.

Dennis-Cook provides additional training to staff as more people travel farther for care, "capable of responding to increasing patient numbers." "Like" says they are changing the schedule.

According to 2014 data analyzed by research group Guttmacher Institute, 20% of U.S. women will reach the nearest abortion clinic before the Supreme Court overturns the Roe v. Wade case. I had to travel at least 42 miles. In support of the right to abortion, the findings were published in The Lancet Public Health. In most of eastern Oregon, that distance can jump up to nearly 180 miles. Distances can be even longer for many patients as more states move to enact abortion trigger bans.

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Dennis Cook says the Bend Health Center is seeing patients far from Texas increase.

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Bend's clinic has six offices and about 600 visits a month. Dennis Cook said she was "smaller" and therefore "limited" in what she could offer.

"We'll only do the steps for the first semester here," she explained. She added that the clinic cannot perform procedures involving general anesthesia. "There aren't many nurses who can do such a job and pull out."

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Small abortion clinics, especially rural clinics, have historically tackled the shortage of staff and doctors who can carry out the procedure. This affects the availability of schedules.

With increasing demand for travel funding, NWAAF has already run out of its planned operating budget this year, according to Riley Keane, the group's practical support leader.

"Last year we donated about $ 1 million," Keane explained, referring to the grants given to the clinic to cover the costs of abortion and the travel expenses provided to patients. Did. She said this year NWAAF is "potentially on a track to double it."

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Keen, $ 1 million from Oregon's new abortion access fund, usually depends on individual donors We expect to make a "big difference" in the NWAAF. She says the group is the first to receive government money this year.

NWAAF says it is concerned about funding travel for patients in states where abortion is banned or severely restricted, but works with legal professionals to assess changing conditions. I added that I am doing it.

"They keep us up to date about what we need to worry about," Keane said.

In response to legislation passed in Texas that allows individuals to sue abortion providers, the Governor of Oregon, the Governor of Washington, and the Governor of California said, "Judiciary and local law enforcement. Announced a joint commitment to protect patients and doctors in cooperation with the agency. Out-of-state investigations, inquiries, and arrests. "

The three Governor of the Democratic Party are also legal in the state. He said he would refuse to "deliver an individual for criminal prosecution" to receive or support a typical abortion service.

NWAAF's service areas include Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska.

Keen says NWAAF will continue to work for now. "Currently, our legal counsel isn't telling us that we need to stop working," she said.

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