Jul 11, 2023 - Health

Abortions rise in Oregon after fall of Roe v. Wade

Estimated legal abortion rate in Oregon
Data: #WeCount/Society of Family Planning; Chart: Kavya Beheraj and Jacque Schrag/Axios

Abortion rates in Oregon have increased since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade's federal abortion protections last year led patients in states where the procedure is restricted to seek care here.

Why it matters: Oregon created a $15 million fund last year to expand abortion services across the state, while also funneling money into nonprofit abortion funds like the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, which helps people pay for the procedure and travel.

By the numbers: A new Society of Family Planning report estimates 8,880 abortions were performed in Oregon from July 2022 to March 2023.

  • Before the ruling, the nonprofit estimates, an average of 820 abortions were performed monthly in April and May 2022, compared to 987 average monthly abortions from July to December that same year.

Flashback: In 2017, Oregon passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act, codifying abortion rights into state law and mandating that private health insurance providers cover abortion with no out-of-pocket costs to the patient.

Context: A bill aimed at protecting Oregonians' right to abortion and gender-affirming care was one of two pieces of legislation that spurred the six-week Senate Republican walkout this year, which ended in June after Democrats agreed to a series of amendments regarding parental consent.

Meanwhile, lawmakers passed another bill that would ban Oregon court clerks from issuing subpoenas if another state sought to pursue charges against abortion providers here.

Zoom out: Since the fall of Roe v. Wade last June until May 2023, the National Abortion Federation saw "an unprecedented increase in the need for travel funding for individuals seeking abortion care," according to a new report.

What they're saying: "We've seen this bottleneck of patients who are trying to fit into appointments in states where abortion is accessible," Sarah Traxler, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood North Central States, told reporters during a press call last month.

The big picture: Twenty states have moved to ban or restrict abortion in the last year, and 25 states have measures in place to protect abortion rights.

Between the lines: The rise in abortions in safe haven states didn't offset the drop-off in procedures in those states with bans, per the Society of Family Planning, which estimates there were about 26,000 fewer abortions in the first nine months after the Dobbs decision.

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