LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It’s been nearly six weeks since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
The decision sparked legal battles in multiple states and it also sent thousands of people from across the country to Nevada to get abortions.
Nevada legalized abortion more than three decades ago, protecting abortions up to 24 weeks.
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In Las Vegas, there’s only seven health centers that administer abortions. In Reno, there are two.
“As one of the few places in the nation that has voter protected abortion access, we will see more people wanting to come here to seek care,” said Caroline Mello Roberson, the Southwest Regional Director for NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada, a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to advancing reproductive freedom through legislative, political, and community organizing.
Roberson said the impacts of the court’s decision are already trickling down into clinics across our region.
“They are seeing an increase in patients and it is affecting their ability to provide care in a timely fashion,” Roberson said.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which covers the Las Vegas area, shared these statistics with 13 Action News following the overturning of Roe V. Wade:
- About half of their patients now travel in from other states.
- Wait times fluctuate each week, but the overall trend is that wait times are getting longer.
- For a medication abortion, typically they could be doing walk-in visits. Now, they are looking at a wait of 7 to 10 days for a medication abortion.
- For a procedural abortion, a patient could experience a wait as long as two weeks, depending how far along they are in the pregnancy.
If this trend continues, they say they will struggle to meet demand in the long term .
“Although we have been preparing for this decision and expanding our services for years, health centers in our region will struggle to manage the demand in the long term. We must expand and protect care in neighboring states,” a Planned Parenthood spokesperson said. “Our doors are open. We are working hard to see as many patients as we can, as we work to expand abortion access as well.”
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Gov. Steve Sisolak recently signed an executive order that stops Nevada agencies from helping other states investigate patients seeking an abortion in Nevada. The order also protects health care providers from losing their license for providing abortion services.