Jun 29, 2022 - News

Pennsylvania abortion providers prepare for out-of-state patient surge

Illustration of a red cross on a ticket.
Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Pennsylvania abortion providers and funds are ramping up resources in anticipation of an influx of out-of-state patients following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

By the numbers: Planned Parenthood Keystone estimates 8,500 out-of-state patients may flock to Pennsylvania to seek abortion care this year, particularly from Ohio and West Virginia where laws significantly curtail abortion access.

Why it matters: Roughly 85% of Pennsylvania counties lack an abortion provider, per the Guttmacher Institute.

  • The increased demand from out-of-state patients could place extra strain on already struggling providers.

What's happening: The Abortion Liberation Fund of PA increased its funding for the next fiscal year from $610,000 to roughly $838,000.

  • Yes, but: Even with the extra money, the organization might not be able to meet the need, the nonprofit's executive director Elicia Gonzales told Axios. Last year, the fund used around $667,000 worth of funding to help 3,200 people pay for abortions, but the need was closer to 7,000.
  • Plus, out-of-state patients have additional expenses, such as costs for travel and missed days of work.

Lindsey Mauldin, VP of public policy and advocacy for Planned Parenthood Southeast Pennsylvania, tells Axios she expects clinics in western and central Pennsylvania to see a surge in new patients.

  • But for now, clinics across Pennsylvania have been fielding calls from patients who want to ensure they still have access to care. Mauldin says the immediate priority is reminding people that abortion is still legal in the state.

Providers are also working with law enforcement and preparing for more protests outside clinics, Mauldin says.

  • The organization deploys trained volunteers through their patient escort program to ensure people enter the clinics safely.

What to watch: Republican legislators and political candidates are pushing to limit abortion access in Pennsylvania.

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